Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Canan Tolon; the artist’s third solo show with the gallery.
Tolon is known for work that addresses the politicization of space by investigating the way it is visualized, treated, imagined and remembered. To create the paintings for this show, the artist combined several methods utilizing unpredictable natural processes (such as rust and weather patterns) with the more manageable and precise practicals of oil painting. Although Tolon does not use photography, collage or any other form of printed media, her layers of glazed figure-to-ground arrangements on canvas recall mechanical reproduction.
Black oil paint is pressed and scraped onto a light ground and later, color is used like a tint akin to the way a photographer might filter film. The sharp tools used by the artist achieve a visual likeness that conjures a reality but dissolves when scrutinized at closer range. The experience of engaging with Tolon’s work approximates the daily bruising inflicted by an increasingly visual news media. While the influx of information may blur (or blind), there still exists an impulse to "make sense of" or “see" random shapes as if they were purposefully concrete.
Tolon explains, ”It is for that reason that I consider this group of paintings to be more about the viewer than myself. My aim is to point at things rather than share my own introspections and thus entice one to question and reflect upon the interpretations and causes of their visions. To dictate an overtly political message would be redundant and therefore cliché. But the familiarity depicted in these entirely accidental forms is what triggers a narrative that begs confirmation: Is the mirage the same to you? Am I looking at historical documentation or have I trained my imagination to see false testimonies? And this brings us back to the title of the exhibition."
Over the course of 30 years, Canan has produced work from a wide range of material yet the message has remained consistent: to explore the dissonance between real and imagined; promised and experienced. Tolon was born in Istanbul and grew up in various European countries. She studied design and architecture in Edinburgh and London before receiving a Masters in Architecture form the University of California at Berkeley. Tolon has exhibited internationally since 1984 at institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the British Museum, London; a retrospective at Parasol unit, London (exhibition catalogue); the Istanbul Modern Museum; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands; and Saatchi Gallery, London. The artist lives and works in Emmeryville, CA.