Space is the main subject of Canan Tolon’s work, especially in the way it is visualized, politicized, imagined, and remembered. Tolon uses a technique that is as random as it is premeditated and studied. Her paintings are formally as precise, rhythmic, and structured, as they are evasive, accidental, and fluent. Although she does not use print or collage, her technique visually imitates photographic prints where evidences alluding to places and events are implied. Her black and white paintings are visually closer to the photographic technique which allude to the realistic documentations our trained eyes consider to be true testimonies. She often uses tools, like straight edges and knives, to produce an effect of instant reality; but upon closer inspection the “photographic reality” falls apart and the painting’s illusion is revealed. Tolon’s aim is to produce paintings that are recognizable yet elude description.
Born in Istanbul, Canan Tolon has lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years. She has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Berlin and in both Istanbul and Ankara, where she has a devoted following. Her work is included in the public collections of the British Museum in London and Istanbul Modern in Istanbul. Educated in Germany, England, and at UC Berkeley, Tolon has exhibited with the gallery since 1997.