By Alexis Culotta PHD
Art Ascent Magazine
" For Artist Robert Tokley paradise can be found in the landscapes of his home country Canada. He celebrates this North American nature through the use of vibrant colour and brilliant pattern and shares this paradise with his viewers one composition at a time.
In the cultivation of his unique approach . Robert was influenced by the Canadian Group of Seven artists and Tom Thomson. These artists shared a bond which centred in a love for the Canadian landscape and a fascination for modern painting. They invoked the loosened brushstroke of Impressionism and the intense colour contrast of Expressionism to convey compelling vistas of the country's various provinces.
Robert desired to include these Impressionism brushstrokes and Expressionistic colours into his early works. His works are now influenced by the contemporary Scottish born artist Peter Doig, a figurative landscape painter who is unafraid to introduce elements of abstraction into his work. A number of Doig's compositions contemplate the balance between realism and fantasy which at times was conveyed through colour and other times through amplified patterns or motifs from nature. One of Doig's record auction setting works, The Architects House in the Ravine (1991) offers the viewer an intimate view of a sequestered abode which is interrupted with the intertwined branches of a thicket of trees that obscures the entire scene.
Robert tries to put tensions similar to Doig's into his compositions, such as tensions between clarity and obscurity and tensions between realism and fantasy. In his "Firefly's" painting for example, Robert transforms the evanescent sparkle of various lightning bugs paths into a punctuated pattern that interrupts his vibrantly hued landscape. In doing so, Robert tests the bounds between the tranquility of nature and its inherent violence and intensity thus offering in one view the dynamic range that nature can yield. The same could be said for " Pink Paddle, Red Canoe" wherein Robert offers a calming vista which is a kin to many of Doig's views that are nevertheless electrified with a kaleidoscopic palette that seems reminiscent of figures such as Henri Matisse and the French Fauves of the early twentieth century. In short, Robert's scenes are both real and otherworldly, a juxtaposition that perhaps reflects Robert's deep love of the Canadian landscape and his desire to imbue passion into every composition he creates."