Explore Domestic Life Through This Artist’s Layered Collages


Anne Toebbe painted collage depicting a woman answering the phone inside her home

Ann Toebbe doesn’t just paint. Rather, she layers elaborate collages of furniture and objects on top of her paintings, resulting in compositions that play with flat geometry while offering multiple points of view. The intricate, colorful final pieces are portals into domestic life. Here, the Hyde Park-based artist shares more about her work.

Why the focus on domestic life? I’m interested in how people set up and organize their homes. Since I was a kid, I have always looked at people’s residences as an indication of their class—I didn’t know much about it, but I knew when someone’s sofa was nicer than the one in my living room. Many of the homes I depict are Midwestern and middle class; my parents’ house in Cincinnati has been a decades-long focus. My paintings are inventories of my fixation on how and where people live.

How do you construct your works? I don’t have a single formula, but I start with an architectural layout. All my collage paper is hand-painted, and I may add mixed media, such as yarn, glitter and flocking. The amount of detail, objects and furniture depends on how much information I have—I build the paintings from photos, texts, social media posts and memory.