We talk about quiet in painting often, the evocation of a feeling of something serene, calm and almost empty of sound. Tony Toscani is balancing a few things in his painting, especially in the works he has in Calloused Hymns of Loneliness at Carl Kostyál in London: the figures in his work are hearing something, sometimes it appears loud, but there is a quiet nature in the environment they are in. A few works even show the figures literally covering their ears in an internal megaphone of monologue, but the viewer feels like there is only white noise. It's arresting and stunning, especially in the grand but sparse space of Carl Kostyál. 

“We naturally have aspirations," Toscani says about the work. "It is a ubiquitous tendency. But it requires time and perseverance. A very unappealing combo by today’s standards. For it is much easier and faster for us now to create digital doppelgangers to entertain our fellow followers. Quite often at times through ostentatious behaviour.  So what do we do? We tumble through continuous loops of distractions over and over again, like virtual hurricanes from which we snap out of through the call of the real. And we answer this beckoning call by packing ourselves right back into the cliques and clichés that we so often find unappealing anyway. But we endure the atmosphere because there is certain amount of comfort in conformity. Call it self- deprecating, call it lonely, but it is that very cycle that fuels our melancholic rhythm.”

Loneliness while being surrounded by others seems to be a topic of discussion amongst the world over the last three years, a condition we are all coming to grips with and trying to understand this subtle yet drastic collective mood shift since the pandemic. How do we visualize our loneliness, how do we speak about seeing ourselves as somewhat of a new conscious-being in the 21st century. —Evan Pricco