Chanel Tobler - Entangled Kin. 24 June - 31 July, 2021.

In Entangled Kin, Chanel Tobler navigates an evolving awareness of the romantic illusions that snag us all—perhaps in different ways and at different times, yet always and ironically, to the degree that we are willing to love in the first place. Such a process of observation, in her own words, can result in ‘a gain via a loss’—yet one must be willing to dive deep into the space of honest reflection to find any such reward. Her works and words capture the act of such a dive.

In this suite of abstract drawings, Tobler’s material process mirrors the weaving, ambiguous, gravity-free nature of the heart and mind in battle: lines, shadows and nebulous forms oscillate between optimism, caution, serenity, confusion, abandonment and peace— occupying the picture plane in the same way that our emotions occupy our bodies. Both must be sensed and felt before being understood.

Between the four walls of their paper supports, these marks dwell at times within murky, almost tear-stained tonal fields— sombre spaces that speak of a coming to terms with many things: disappointment, release, and the limitations of relationships. ‘I left myself to be dragged in the mud, lose grace, fall low.’ Yet in almost equal measure, a resiliency—de ant punches of highly saturated pigment speak of a picking back up: they pulse through the air, refusing to dwell without insight, or surrender without response.

These drawings can be seen as a series of visual containers, full of the convoluted interactions between self and other; past, present and uncertain futures which will be built by those we do love, have loved, and those we are yet to love. And in these spaces a home is found—perhaps unexpected and transitory—but still wholly inhabited.


Belle Blau, 2021