Tolla was born in Germany in 1958. She attended the Merz school in Stuttgart until 1971, specializing in the arts of ceramics and sculpture. Tolla belongs to the line of sculptors who throughout the centuries have believed in the impact of their art and its ability to convey human emotion, to explore the questions of what it means to be human, of what it means to be part of the complexity of the universe.
Tolla’s bronze sculpture is perhaps best described as "non-conventional," however, departing as it does from the style of statuary sculpture that dates back from Greek and Roman times through the Renaissance and up to today. In contrast to traditional European sculpture, Tolla’s bronze work is palpably less dense in form. Yet, Tolla continues to explore the same basic questions of life as her predecessors. She continues to create in a medium utilized by artists since the Bronze Age. But Tolla’s sculptures figuratively and literally float and soar above us: slender figures delicately balanced in timeless reality. For Tolla, the need to keep and ask the basic questions of life is essential. The question of being, and humanity’s need to return to the “source” are integrally related. It is this timeless reality that informs Tolla’s work.
Tolla, quoting Ann and Patrick Poitrier (1942), notes: “What really interests us is not the past, but the timeless, the archetypal that is permanent yet ephemeral in us, and the ‘why and wherefore’ of this permanence and fragility.”
Tolla possesses a creative breath capable of conveying such a reality, dismantling the strength we all have that pushes us to progress and to find in the effort the satisfaction of a new success. It is Tolla’s belief that energy flows in waves so that preceding every movement forward there will be a step backwards, or at least a period of repose. This constant movement of life is palpable in Tolla’s sculptures, inspired by her belief that it is our spirit which makes us move and allows us to overcome the restrictions we face. Tolla’s work not only poignantly depicts the internal, inner human experience, but relationships between individuals, and between individuals and their source as well. Tolla’s sculptures have the power to marvel, to move us forward, to explain the importance of human relations, to cause us to reflect upon our place in the universe.
Tolla knows that a work’s beauty is not merely based on what is shown by it externally, but by its ability to touch our souls. Tolla’s extraordinary and beautiful sculptures have received many honors, awards and prizes since she first began exhibiting professionally more than a decade ago. Her work is in many significant museum, private and corporate art collections worldwide, including: the Museum of Liberty in Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell is housed; President and Mrs. Clinton’s private art collection; and the renowned international sculpture collection of Leonard Wien which includes original pieces by Rodin and other masters.
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