Djanogly Art Gallery
East England

There is always a jostle for position in any kind of art between broadly what you can refer to as its form, and then this other thing, its content. In essence what it is and what it might say, solicit or catalyse, in terms of some kind of a response. This is one of the very basics that an artist has to ponder when putting stuff out saucily into the world (to borrow from King Lear). This correlation can be easily spotted within narrative work, and is frequently impossible to avoid within work that is driven by the polemic. Often they get it wrong.

Then you get an abstract artist like Tobolewski, where form is content and content is not representation of thing, but is ‘thing’. Because of the fact that the idea of the liberation of form from depiction, is the best part of 100 years old, being an effective abstract artist today is a tough call. In this, the first major show of Tobolewski’s paintings in the UK for over a decade, the artist clearly rises to the challenge. He does this by producing a body of work that is embued with the sensual and evocative capacity, to pick you up and transport you into another, emphatically better perceptual territory, beyond the shiny wooden gallery floor on which you thought you were standing.

These meticulously crafted lines meander across canvas and paper like the very best of choreographed snail trails. They appear deceptively simple, but are painstakingly layered and gently intertwined to create deep and penetrating visual field which draw you ever inwards. With all the works on show, intrigue, ambiguity, and understatement are combined with colour and form to generate an immersive warmth and calm evocative in part of a protected state of pre natal suspension.

The more you look at them, the more these gently curving intersections of line start to propose multiple possibilities. They appear suggestive of the human body, both in its exterior outline and like internal anatomical images of convoluted veins and intestines. They also take you deeper inwards, simular in their amorphic sensibility to sub cellular microscopic imagery.

But and this in an important but. The lack of clear referent always stops you short of fixing your reading and before you know it you are drawing other associations. perhaps with landscape, or river systems as viewed from a plane and so your passage within the works continue without end.

It is this ability to take you, as a viewer on a visually transcendental journey that works so well for me, and that’s before you stop to consider the fact that these are extremely well executed paintings, done with, to use the Mike Kelley title: more love hours than can ever be repaid.

The mark of the author is quietly evidenced in all of the paintings and drawings on show. This significant and active ingredient, for me underpins the work and somehow adds to the overall jouissance beyond mere pleasure embedded within this dynamically evolved body of abstract painting. A show for me, without question, well worth a visit.