Toby MacLennan is a multimedia artist working in Brooklyn, NY. In a review for the New York Times, Jennifer Dunning writes, “Toby MacLennan is a visionary whose feet are firmly planted in the ground… (Her work) is at heart a romantic ode to the hidden, instinctual voyages by which we navigate through life.”
MacLennan has performed and had installations at MoMA PS1, PS122, the Andrus Planetarium, Hudson River Museum, Art in General, The National Gallery of Canada, The H.R. MacMillan Planetarium in British Columbia, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
She has screened films in Brussels, London, NYC, Paris, Poland, Chicago, and New Mexico. In addition, her films received awards at the New York Film Festival, Brussels International Film Festival, Ohio Film Festival, Louisville Film Festival, and the Festival of Experimental Film, Chicago Art Institute. Galerie Articule in Montreal hosted a retrospective of her films.
Her book, 1 Walked Out of 2 and Forgot It, was published by the Something Else Press and reviewed by The New York Times. John Cage wrote the sample/foreword to another of her books, Singing the Stars, published by The Coach House Press, Canada.
Photographic Work has been exhibited at IPA photo awards, NY, Photoplace Gallery, Vermont, The Center for Fine Arts Photography, Co. The Griffin Museum of Photography, MA. Arc Gallery, San Francisco, Boomer Gallery, London, FotoNostrum Gallery, Barcelona, Providence Center for Photographic Art, Berlin Foto Biennale, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, Tokyo International Foto Awards, Budapest International Foto Awards, Top 40 International Juried Competition Winners Exhibition at Lacda, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, CA.
About her process in creating digitally enhanced photos, MacLennan says:
I begin a photograph by making sketches and notes from an evocative dream, journey, or experience. Then I build props, find objects, create costumes, masks, backdrops and take photos of myself or close friends. Many times, I use a macro lens to capture barely discernable details. Often I rephotograph images and blur them in camera. When I’ve collected all the images, I play with the endless possibilities until some combination surprises me and I know the photo is finished.
I’ve used images I shot in the Tombs of the Egyptian Pharaohs, peacocks engaging in a rattling, ear piercing, mating ritual, live butterflies in the Butterfly House in the Museum of Natural History, horses in a stable in lower Manhattan, church icons in Mexico, a ranger’s animal rescue shelter in Canada, and deer trailing down a West Virginia Mountain as I huddled behind bushes. It was a gift to photograph a spider in my morning window building an incredible web and then licking a dew drop. Maybe I photograph so many birds because when I was in college in Ann Arbor, against the Dean and my father’s warning, I’d sneak out of the dorm and fly an old two-seater airplane into the clouds, and the feeling of being a soaring bird has never quite left me.