An Alternative View To Painting; Rust, Pigment and Petrol

I mentioned about Canan Tolon  in the article on“Second Exhibition” in Arter. Then, I wanted to share other works of her with you. And finally today, I want to write aboutCanan Tolon and her works. Hope you’ll enjoy; these are very interesting pictures! Don’t be surprised at rust, pigment, flax and even oil…


Untitled 2008, rust and pigments on canvas, 46″ x 58″ (116 x 147 cm)


Untitled Diptych, 1996, pigments on paper and oil on canvas, 28″ x 70″ (71 x 178 cm)

After having education on philosophy and literature in Istanbul French School in 1975, she studied architecture in Scotland, Germany and Bachelor of Art in England. She worked in various projects on city planning, architecture and industrial design in Paris, San Francisco and Berkeley as from 1977. Being lecturer on Architecture and Environmental Design department in California University, she completed architecture master program and history of architecture doctoral program of the same university.

Her first personal exhibition in 1984 was followed by other exhibitions in many metropolises such as Ankara, Istanbul, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Paris.

“Plastic Dialogues” in Royal Palace of Brussels”

“Organized Controversy” in Proje4L Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art

“Concurrent Times” and“Observation, Interpretation, Variety” in Istanbul Modern

“Modern and Beyond” in Santral Istanbul are some of her exhibitions…

Recently, her prestige book compiled with her pieces between the years 1986 and 2010 has been introduced to art-lovers.

Two new articles by Richard Ingersoll and Jacqueline Buss take their place in the book which gives the opportunity to see various periods of artistic life of the painter all together. Of 600 creations of the artist who approaches the painting tradition in a different way, 355 works were compiled in the book. It’s a pretty reference book to place in your library; art-lovers must go get in right now!


Emergency exit, 2007, mirrors and ladders, 90″ x 48″ x 60″ (230 x 120 x 150 cm)


Colony 2, 2008, mixed media (mirrors, light bulb, mattresses and grass growing on bedding)

96″ x 22″ x 80″ (244 x 56 x 203 cm)

Wall installations of Canan Tolon and her works based on biological objects are in the scope of the understanding oriented toward an esthetics of creation. Contemporary art concepts such as durability, synthesis, combination are the major values she is interested in.


Everything’s Honky-dory #11, 2005, oil on canvas, 46″ x 52″ (117 x 133 cm)


Everything’s Honky-dory #1, 2005, oil on canvas, 67″ x 92″ (51 x 65 cm)


Everything’s Honky-dory #6, 2005, oil on canvas, 51″ x 65″ (130 x 165 cm)

She explains why“Tıkırında Her şey (Everthing on the rail)” exhibition in Ankara Gallery Nev in 2005 focuses on theme of oil-wells and ambition:

“It’s rather impossible for me to ignore the affected environment and the harm coming from the relationships based on self-interest as an artist who especially works with‘pictures’ in the widest sense. Taking no notice of its political background is virtually inevitable,” she said.


Glitch VI, 2008, oil on canvas, 53″ x 56″ (134 x 142 cm)


Glitch II, 2007, oil on canvas,  (140 x 181 cm)

In the“Glitch” series in 2008, paintings give us a feeling like thousands of colors, sounds and scents from our memories merging and becoming indistinct. Effects of architectural education in her mind are seen as one of the sharpest features of Canan Tolon’s paintings. According to the artist, the different standpoint of the pieces in this series is that new images where more than one focal points conflict come forward. She puts her purpose into words: “Creating new images out of layers which remove each other and making it possible to create something else in every single mind. Opposite of cubism, actually…”

Financial Times, in its article dated 27th February 2010 about the developing art environment of Turkey, describes“Glitch” as one of the shining series of recent times.

2010“Fugue”…“Fugue” after which the exhibition was named is a composition type being formed by repeating the same subject similarly to each other in polyphonic music. And along with this exhibition, sizes of the pieces got smaller, arranged side to side and series were formed.

Canan Tolon continues her works in California and is represented byGallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco.

We will hear the name of Canan Tolon and her works much more often in the future. I’m among her followers and if you want to join us, you can see all of her works in her web site.

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