Tobias Tovera, Hydra II, 2006, 48 x 48 inches, watercolor pigment on panel

Tobias Tovera, Hydra II, 2006, 48 x 48 inches, watercolor pigment on panel

Tobias Tovera: Lost in Layers

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It is easy to get lost in the layers of Tobias Tovera’s paintings. You may find yourself floating along the undulating lines and shapes or diving into the deep hues of color. Tobias Tovera’s abstract works of art evoke many different kinds of imagery. When I first viewed his paintings, I immediately made the connection to geological formations and aquatic landscapes. Depending on the color and composition, sometimes I see the Earth’s strata and other times I see aerial views of rivers.

Tobias Tovera explains that in his artwork he is “interested in discovering transmuted spaces, places where energy shifts, changes, or renews itself. Through an exploration of the interstices between opposing elements such as nature and artifice, chaos and order, [he] wishes to explore entropic systems where healing may occur. [He] wants [his] audience to be confronted by a raw sense of what it means to be alive.”

Time is an essential part of Tovera’s paintings. He began developing his sense of style about 10 years ago and the process of making a single painting is quite lengthy as well. Depending on the environment and the amount of layers, a finished piece may take up to six months to complete.  His paintings are staged like a performance, where he sets layer upon layers of pigment infused with solvents. The layers are poured horizontally over the work, but the overall formal shape and material application is be determined by the movement of the medium and its successive layers. Each layer reflects the dialogue of the hand of the artist and the element of chance. As time passes, the layers begin to evaporate, revealing a sense of depth and time.

As we continue to exist in a fast paced world, the work of Tobias Tovera’s speaks great volumes to slowing down. His artwork envelops you in the experience of time and the hypnotic layers entrance you in a meditative state.

To learn more about Tobias Tovera and his work, visit

—Andrea Pawarski



Andrea Pawarski is a first year graduate student at SUNY Buffalo State in the Multidisciplinary Program with a focus in Ceramics. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education and Ceramics from Syracuse University.