Selecting from familiar objects, images, or symbols, Tonning constructs situations intended to elicit questions without insisting on a singular answer.
Using objects and images of function, Tonning seeks out subjectivity contained within them. Can a lawnmower be an object of utility while existing as a symbol of culture? Can the letter “A” exist as a symbol within a spoken language while also being simply a formal object?
Art is a cooperative process, potentially involving many individuals of a variety of backgrounds. The ideas or questions that drive an artist forward may not be the same ideas or questions contained in the resulting artwork. Tonning does not see this as a fault, but instead considers it to be the result of subjectivity and fluidity of facts.
Accessing a variety of forms and methods, he seeks out a shifting content that may point to his own interpretations, while simultaneously acknowledging other parallel subjectivities. Through this Tonning offers validation of his own ideas as well as those of his audience.
- Adjunct Faculty