Dorothy Tanner Bio

    
Dorothy Tanner and Messenger
photo by Candace Anne Hill
“Light has the power to create, define, and solidify; or leave in shadow that which we
believe to be real.”
“The major challenge for me in art is to keep under control the tyranny of a logical
mind. The spirit that moves me is capricious, unruly and irreverent. Most of my work
grows out of intuitive impulse–the rest gets underway by just playing.”
Dorothy Tanner was born in The Bronx, NY in 1923. She studied woodcarving
with Chaim Gross at the Educational Alliance, sculpture with Aaron
Goodleman
at the Jefferson School of Social Science, and was a student of
Gabor Peterdi and Milton Hebald at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. It was
at the Brooklyn Museum where she met Mel Tanner and married two years
later in 1951.
The Tanners moved to Syracuse, NY where they began the Syracuse Art
Workshop, teaching painting and sculpture. They also taught an art class
for children in the summer at Syracuse University.
“When Dorothy Tanner dons her rugged work clothes—dungarees, sneaker, sweat shirt, safety glasses and
heavy gloves—she isn’t going to work in a foundry. She’s about to use an acetylene torch to heat and bend
bits of copper tubing and shapes of brass and steel into art forms. One half of the art team of Mel and
Dorothy Tanner works in metal work sculpture and the other half in oil paintings.” 
Alice F. Keegan, The Post-Standard, “Blow Torch Her ‘Brush.’” 1961
In 1963, they returned to New York City and founded an artists’ co-op,
Granite Gallery, on East 57th Street. The Granite Art Association organized
seminars, forums, and exhibitions. “The New Face in Art” Forum took place
at the Loeb Center at New York University. Participants included
Louise Nevelson, Red Grooms, Norman Carton, and art writer Gordon Brown.
While experimenting with many mediums in her career, Dorothy has found
plexiglas to be the most rewarding. It is a material that she will sculpt,
paint, sandblast, bake and shape. Some are wall sculptures, some free-
standing or mobiles, while others are water sculptures. Light is an intrinsic
element of the art form. LEDs have been the primary source of lighting the
works since 2002.
While each sculpture stands alone as an artistic expression, her interest is
to integrate the works into a total environment — installations that express
a powerful visual and emotional sensibility.
Dorothy Tanner and Mel Tanner began their luminal art in Miami in the
1960s, adding the elements of live projection, electronics, and music to
create a multi-sensory experience they called “Lumonics,” with the intention
to deeply affect people on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels: to relax,
energize, and foster a sense of well-being.
“Difficult to describe, beautiful and unusual, the Lumonics Light and Sound Theatre is
hard to compare or judge, comprehend even, because it has no peers. It is different,
something unto itself, and not entirely of this world.” 
Ken Plutnicki,The Miami Herald, “Light Show a Theatre of the Mind.” 
“One of the most unusual yet beautiful experiences in the world of art…”
David Tedeschi, “The Light Fantastic, The Miami Herald
Since the passing of Mel Tanner in 1993, Dorothy collaborates with long-time
associate, Marc Billard,  creating  sculptures, electronic music, and video,
and continuing to build the Lumonics experience.
Since relocating to Denver in 2008, Dorothy has exhibited at  Union Gallery,
the Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA), Denver International Airport, Lakewood
Cultural Center, Vertigo Art Center, and Union Station.
“Lumonics Then and Now: A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture of
Dorothy and Mel Tanner, the highly acclaimed exhibit which filled the
entire Museum of Outdoor Arts from January to March of 2017.
“When I first encountered the art universe of Mel and Dorothy Tanner in the
current retrospective, my mind leaped ‘back to the future.’ In the hands and
liberated minds of these two adventurous artists, the medium of light, as
embodied and expressed in their sculptural muses, delights more than our
eyes alone can absorb.  As this exhibition demonstrates, the creative spirit
transcends virtually everything it makes in revealing itself and engaging us
with its revelations!” 

– Todd Siler, artist, educator, and art historian, who discussed the
Retrospective at the Exploring the Denver Art Scene Forum at the
Denver Art Museum in February, 2017.
In the summer of 2016, Dorothy and team formed an association with the
7 Healing Stars Oneness Center, founded by Jomar P. Suarez, M.D. ,
a psychiatrist with a vision for an integrated global community. The
initial collaboration took place at The Scarlet, a former casino, located
at 130 Main Street in downtown Central City, through May of 2017.
Downstairs at The Scarlet, Dorothy Tanner created an art installation
that featured the  light sculptures. The installation which included video and
a pyramid was utilized for relaxation and meditation. Dr. Suarez is
“especially interested in the potential of {this} art for mental health
treatments and applications.” 
Preparation are under way for Dorothy Tanner’s meditation light and sound
installation, the Lumonics Mind Spa on the first floor of the landmark 
McNichols Building in Civic Center Park in downtown Denver.  Her intention
is to provide a refuge for Colorado residents and tourists who want to take a
break from the fast pace of the City, ad refresh themselves through light and
sound energy.
In addition to being open to the pubic during the week and weekends, events
including workshops and performances will take place in association with
Dr. Suarez’s 7 Healing Stars Oneness Centr (7HS).  Subjects include art and
culture, health and wellness, education, nutrition, sustainability, spirituality,
and community.
EDUCATION
Jefferson School of Social Science
Educational Alliance, New York, NY
Brooklyn Museum School of Art, Brooklyn, NY
TEACHING
Syracuse University, Special Education Department
Syracuse Art Workshop, sculpture instructor
EXHIBITIONS
Jan-March 2017 Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood, CO, “Then and Now:
A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy and Mel Tanner”
August, 2016-May 2017 The Scarlet, Central City, CO, “The Lumonics Mind Spa”
Oct-Dec 2016 Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood, CO, “Reinventing the Image”
June, 2015 Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood, CO, “Creatures From Left Field”
Feb-May 2014 Art Gallery at Denver International Airport, “A Light Journey”
June 2011-Feb 2012 Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood, CO, “Light Supply”
Nov 2010-Jan 2011, Gallery 910, Denver, CO Best of Santa Fe Drive Show
Oct-Nov, 2010: VERTIGO Art Space, Denver, CO, “The Light Fantastic”
Nov 2009 Union Station Fund Raiser, Denver, CO
August, 2009: 18th Annual Loveland Sculpture Invitational, Loveland, CO
Jan-March 2009: Union Gallery, Santa Fe Art District, Denver, CO
ZONES Art Fair, Edge Zones Art Center, Miami FL
Coral Springs Museum
Museum of New Arts, Fort Lauderdale
Patricia Judith Gallery, Boca Raton, FL
New York Univ., Loeb Center, New York, NY
Key Gallery, East 57th Street, New York, NY
SPECIAL PROJECTS
Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery, Denver, CO
Lumonics Light and Sound Theatre, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Lumonics Performing Art Gallery, Bangor, ME
Lumonics Environment, San Diego, CA
Lumonics Light and Sound Theatre, Miami, FL
The Scarlet, Central City, CO
 
ADDITIONAL PROJECTS
Zikr Dance Ensemble, “Lady of the Lake” 
WGBH-TV, Boston (sets for Frontline and Nova)
WBZ-TV, Boston (sets, including world map)
Grants “Ecology through Art” video production, U.S. Govt.
COMMISSIONS AND INSTALLATIONS
Sheraton Hotel, La Guardia Airport, New York
Hilton Hotels, Florida and Grand Bahamas
Fingers, Caracas, Venezuela (private club)
Astro, Sarasota, FL (nightclub)
The Library, Lexington, KY (nightclub)
Bemelman’s, Miami, FL (restaurant)
House of Mo-Ko, Miami, FL (executive offices)
Scandia, Miami, FL (installation)
Hi-Fi Associates, Miami, FL (installation)
COLLECTIONS
General Electric, New York, NY
Raytheon Corporation, New York, NY
Continental Can, New York, NY
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Allentown, Pennsylvania
Datamore, Inc., New York, NY
Data Processing, Inc., Rochester, NY
Numerous Private Collections