Mel Tanner Bio

MelPic

 

 

 

 

 

Mel Tanner
1925-1993
painter, sculptor, video artist, performance artist, designer, teacher
“The whole idea behind everything here is to take light and make it into a shape; a shape that not only
solidifies the light but the life the light touches.” 

* excerpted from interview in The Miami News
Mel Tanner was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1925. After serving overseas in the Army during World War II, he
enrolled in art school under the G.I. Bill. He attended Pratt Institute, the Art Students League of New York,
and  the Brooklyn Museum Art School under Max Beckmann, John Ferren, and Reuben Tam.
While a student at the Brooklyn Museum, he met Dorothy. They married two years later in 1951, and moved to
Syracuse, NY where they opened the Syracuse Art Workshop, teaching painting and sculpture. They also taught
an art class for children in the summer at Syracuse University.
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 and Exhibition
took place at the Loeb Center at New York University. Participants included Louise Nevelson, Red Grooms,
Norman Carton, and art writer Gordon Brown.
In 1965, after traveling extensively in Europe, the Tanners established a studio in Miami. Their interest in plexiglas
and its unique light transmitting quality engaged both Dorothy and Mel in experimentation that led to the major
component of their art form: light. This collaborative project became their main focus and dedication, utilizing
the light sculptures, live projection, video,  electronics, and music.  The Tanners created Lumonics installations
in Miami, San Diego, Bangor, and Fort Lauderdale .
Since Mel Tanner’s passing in 1993, his light sculptures have been exhibited in conjunction with Dorothy’s at the
Coral Springs Museum of Art in Coral Springs, FL at “The Art of Healing” Exhibition; ZONES Art Fair at the Edge
Zones Art Center in Miami during Art Basel Week; Union Gallery in te Santa Fe Art District, theMuseum of
Outdoor Arts, Denver International Airport , Union Station, and The Scarlet. Many are also exhibited at Tanner
Studio/Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery in Denver. His art will be part of the Lumonics Mind Spa installation at
the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park beginning January 13, 2018
EDUCATION
Pratt Institute, 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 (posthumous)
August, 2016-May 2017 The Scarlet, Central City, CO, “The Lumonics Mind Spa”  (posthumous)
Feb-May 2014 Art Gallery at Denver International Airport, “A Light Journey” (posthumous)
June 2011-Feb 2012 Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood, CO  (posthumous)
Nov 2009 Union Station Fund Raiser, Denver, CO (posthumous)
Jan-March 2009 Union Gallery, Santa Fe Art District, Denver, CO (posthumous)
Dec 2007 ZONES Art Fair, Edge Zones Art Center, Miami FL (posthumous)
Coral Springs Museum (posthumous)
Museum of New Arts, Fort Lauderdale
Patricia Judith Gallery, Boca Raton, FL
New York Univ., Loeb Center, New York, NY
Granite Gallery, East 57th Street, New York, NY
Key Gallery, East 57th Street, New York, NY
SPECIAL PROJECTS
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
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
Sheraton Hotel, La Guardia Airport, New York
Hilton Hotels, Florida and Grand Bahamas
Fingers, Caracas, Venezuela (private club)
The Library, Lexington, KY (nightclub)
Astro, Sarasota, FL (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
Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood, CO
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
Friends of The Whitney Museum
Numerous Private Collections

 

 Wall Sculpture
59″T x 22″W x 15″D
1969
part of the permanent collection of

the Museum of Outdoor Arts

 


Blinker
 Wall Sculpture
40″T x 35″W x 9.5″D
1977

 

BlueField_1000 Blue Field
 Wall Sculpture
31″T x 31″W x 8″D
1990

 

inversion_1000
Inversion
Wall Sculpture
30″T x 30″W x 8.5″D
1982

 

Paradigm_1000Paradigm
 Wall Sculpture
31″T x 52″W x 10″D
1976

 

Directional_100Directional
Wall Sculpture
33″T x 33″W x 8″D
1987

 

Lollipop_1000 Lollypop
Free-standing Sculpture
90″T x 35″W x 22″D
1976

 

  Visitor_sketch_mini   Visitor_mini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 PostEgyptian_miniPost Egyptian_mini

 

island_mini IslandMini

 

 inside_miniInside A Split Second_mini

 

 onetwothreeskethc_miniOne Two Threemini

 
MelShopMiami3sarasota
Mel Tanner, Commercial Installation, Sarasota, FL
1976