Master Printmaker Takao Tanabe at Surrey Art Gallery

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Surrey Art Gallery presents Takao Tanabe: Printmaker exhibition on display from April 13 to June 2, 2024.

Takeo Tanabe at Surrey Art Gallery

  • Date: April 13 to June 2, 2024
  • Location: Surrey Art Gallery (13750 88 Ave, Surrey)
  • Tickets: Free admission
Takao Tanabe, Prairie Storm, 1976/2003, lithograph and acrylic wash on paper. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Photo: Vancouver Art Gallery

Oraganized by the Kelowna Art Gallery with Guest Curator Ian M. Thom, Takao Tanabe: Printmaker exhibition at the Surrey Art Gallery features over sixty prints by renowned artist Takao Tanabe from their collection, as well as Vancouver Art Gallery and Winnipeg Art Gallery’s collections.

Tanabe is among Canada’s most celebrated painters and printmakers, recognized for landscapes that bridge the gap between abstraction and realism.

Although celebrated for his paintings, Tanabe has also pursued printmaking throughout his life. The range of works on display span the entirety of Tanabe’s career, from his earliest linocut Christmas Cards dating from 1948 to depictions of the West Coast landscape completed as recently as 2023. As well as the tranquil, contemplative portrayals of the Gulf Islands and the Albertan plains, the exhibition includes screen-printed hard-edge colour abstractions from the 1960s, monotypes (single editions) of natural forms from the 1950s, and some of the physical woodblocks used to produce his more recent prints.

More about the artist

From the National Gallery: “The son of a commercial fisherman, Tanabe Tanabe summered in fishing camps on the Skeena River, B.C. He was interned as a Japanese alien during World War II. Tanabe’s abstract paintings of the 1950s (Interior Arrangement with Red Hills, 1957) were succeeded in the early 1960s by Japanese-influenced ink drawings (Falling Water, 1967). From 1961 to 1968, Tanabe taught at the Vancouver Art School, painting murals. In 1968 he worked in Philadelphia, moving in 1969 to New York City. Based there until 1972, he painted hard-edge geometric abstracts in strong colours (Untitled No. 4, 1968). These evolved in the 1970s into semi-abstract landscapes dominated by wide horizons, influenced by Tanabe’s encounters with northern Pennsylvania, the Hudson River Valley, and the Canadian praire and foothills. From 1973, Tanabe headed the Art Department and was Artist-in-Residence at Banff School of Fine Arts. He moved to Vancouver Island in 1980. Tanabe’s quiet, light-bathed landscapes capture the essence of time and place. He has exhibited since 1950, earning an international reputation.”

This exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated exhibition catalogue with essays by Guest Curator Ian M. Thom and Curator Christine May. There will also be two events in connection to Takao Tanabe: Printmaker including Exhibition Tour and Talk with Ian M. Thom and Sherri Kajiwara on Wednesday, April 24 (7:00pm to 8:30pm) and Peter Braune’s Talk and Printmaking Workshop on Saturday, May 11 (2:00pm to 3:30pm). Find all gallery events here.

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