Then and Now Retrospective

The Museum of Outdoor Arts is pleased to announce Then & Now:
A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy & Mel Tanner
. This is the
first ever retrospective exhibition of Dorothy and Mel Tanner. Join us at the opening
reception of this spectacular exhibition on January 13th from 6-10 pm. The opening
will include hors d’oeuvres and libations and will feature live music mixing by DJ
Buddha Bomb, incorporating some of the music created by Dorothy Tanner and
Marc Billard.
Dorothy and Mel Tanner began their luminal art in the 1960s in Miami. Their interest in
plexiglas and its unique light-transmitting quality engaged them in experimentation that
led to the major component of their art form: light. In unison with the light sculptures,
they added the elements of live projection, music, and electronics to create a
multi-sensory experience that The Miami Herald described as “one of the most
unusual yet beautiful experiences in the world of art.” The Tanners’ interest in
the healing and spiritually uplifting effects that result from light and sound immersion
became their lifetime dedication.
Since the passing of Mel Tanner in 1993, Dorothy continues to experiment with a
wide array of materials and media. Plexiglas is a material that she sculpts, paints,
sandblasts, bakes and shapes. Some are wall sculptures, some free-standing or
mobile, while others are water sculptures.
“Their artwork is unlike anything we have seen,” says MOA President and Executive
Director, Cynthia Madden Leitner. “Illuminated sculpture engages the audience with its
pop-art modernity.”
Dorothy Tanner and her team relocated to Denver in 2008 where she collaborates
with long-time associate, Marc Billard, in creating video, accompanied by Dorothy’s
spoken word and their electronic music. These elements are all part of the Lumonics
expression. More information about the art of Dorothy and Mel Tanner and the video
and music collaborations can be found at and
The exhibition will be on display at MOA’s indoor galleries through March 24, 2017.
This exhibition is FREE and open to the public thanks to the generous support of the
City of Englewood and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).
This week I review the spectacular Mel and Dorothy Tanner retrospective
from their Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery on view currently at
Englewood’s Museum of Outdoor Arts- MOA. Read my review in the print
edition of Denver Westword and on the arts and culture blog below and then
go see this show!
Michael Paglia, Feb. 15, 2017
Review: Lumonics Then & Now  Shines at Museum of Outdoor Arts
by Michael Paglia, Denver Westword

Feb. 15, 2017

The eye-dazzling yet somehow relaxing Lumonics Then & Now: A
Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy & Mel Tanner
transforms the interior galleries of the Museum of Outdoor Arts into a world
of their own.
The spotlights have been dimmed so that the exhibit’s internally
lighted transparent acrylic sculptures and wall panels, as well as its projected
videos, can glow gently in the near-darkness. A soft electronic soundtrack
composed by Dorothy Tanner and her longtime collaborator, Marc Billard, adds
yet another soothing aspect to the exhibit.
link to article


Sat. Feb. 25, 2017
Film & Forum with Dorothy Tanner
Museum of Outdoor Arts

photo of Dorothy Tanner at the Forum by Gregory Daurer


Film & Forum Video, recorded and edited by Travis Powell
Part 1: Introduction by Cynthia Madden Leitner, MOA Executive
Director & President, 
and Todd Siler, artist and art historian
Part 2: Documentary produced by Cynthia Madden Leitner,
Film by Heather Longway Photography

Part 3: Interview with Dorothy Tanner



Feb 10, 2017 at the Denver Art Museum:
Friends of Painting and Sculpture’s (FOPAS) presents:
“Exploring the Denver Art Scene” Forum  

Artist and art critic Todd Siler mentioned the Retrospective at the Museum of
Outdoor Arts and projected Mel Tanner’s “Transworld” on the large screen.
Looking at the monitor in front of the table are panelists Kealey Boyd (left),
Michael Paglia of Denver Westword, and panel moderator Timothy J. Standring,
Gates Foundation Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Denver Art Museum.
Todd Siler is at 
the podium and not in the photo.
Thanks to David Schler for the photo.
 Exploring the Denver Art Scene, Part 1 (28 minute video)
featuring Michael Paglia, Kealey Boyd,  and Todd Siler
Todd Siler’s presentation discussing the Tanner Retrospective
begins at 17:40 and continues into part 2



  Luminous Art Inspiring Our Hearts-n-Minds To Dream With Wonder:
Experiencing the Art of Mel and Dorothy Tanner Art Review
by Todd Siler
(links to the Museum of Outdoor Arts website)
When I first encountered the art universe of Mel (1925-1993) and Dorothy Tanner
in the current retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, my mind
leaped “back to the future”. The radiant, mixed media sculptures exude a
universal lifeforce, like starlight, that flows with nature’s most brilliant forms of
light—including light-emitting diode (LED)s, which were first manufactured in
1962 and discovered artistically by Dorothy Tanner after 1993. 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! That reality becomes
even more self-evident when conversing with Dorothy Tanner, the 94 year-old
(going on 49) multimedia artist, whose humble wisdom inhabits her most soulful
whole article
* Todd Siler, PhD (born August 23, 1953) is an American multimedia artist, author,
educator, and inventor, equally well known for his art and for his work in creativity
research. A graduate of Bowdoin College, he became the first visual artist to be
granted a PhD from MIT (interdisciplinary studies in Psychology and Art, 1986).
Siler began advocating the full integration of the arts and sciences in the 1970s and
is the founder of the ArtScience Program and movement. (Wikipedia)
Virtual Tour
photographed by Heather A. Longway



Bright artistic lights from the big city illuminate a 50-year retrospective of former
New York artists Dorothy Tanner and her late husband late Mel. The mystique of
Andy Warhol’s Factory was palpable Jan. 13 in the Museum of Outdoor Art’s indoor
gallery at the Englewood Civic Center. The opening of  “Then and Now: A Retrospective
of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy and Mel Tanner” was  a well-deserved tribute that
had the feel of a New York underground-society event right there in Englewood.
continue reading


Then & Now: A Retrospective of Dorothy & Mel Tanner at MOA

(Heather A. Longway/ Heather Longway Photography ©2017)
 There are moments in life that are extraordinary and there are artists that don’t always
realize the impact their art has on society. Dorothy and Mel Tanner are such artisans
who have made it their lives mission to open the minds of not only the artistic world but
of every soul that encounters their artwork.
Then & Now: A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy & Mel Tanner
exhibiting at the Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) indoor gallery will be a prime
opportunity to experience the legendary work up close and personal.
continue reading


Dorothy Tanner Installation in the Black Box Gallery at MOA
videographer: Marc Billard
music: Tanner/Billard


Seeing the Light

A 93-year-old artist looks back on decades of unconventional work.

5280 Magazine

DorothyTanner in front of Shazam at the Museum of Outdoor Arts
Photo by Paul Miller
While Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and the Who were all busy playing with their
lasers, Westminster artist Dorothy Tanner was inventing a different kind of light show.
In the ’60s, together with her late husband, Mel, the now 93-year-old created an
artistic style known as Lumonics, a technique that involves LED-lit abstract sculptures
backed by soundtracks that add to the display’s mood. Lumonics soon took off,
and the Tanners brought the art form with them, often collaborating with theater
troupes and musicians, when they moved to places as far-flung as Miami and Maine.
Several years after Mel died, Dorothy moved to Colorado, where she opened
Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery at Tanner Studio. “Palm trees and flatlands become
boring after a while,” she says. By that point, Dorothy had been diagnosed with
glaucoma and macular degeneration. But even though her vision is deteriorating,
she hasn’t stopped creating. In fact, you can still see her immersive installations
in Then and Now: A Retrospective Exhibition of Light-Based Sculptures by
Dorothy & Mel Tanner
, debuting January 13 at the Museum of Outdoor Arts.


21 Best Events in Denver, January 10-16

“The unstoppable Dorothy Tanner”

photo by Candace Hill
Hip couple Dorothy and Mel Tanner began exploring Plexiglas light sculpture
back in the ’60s, inventing their own avant-garde genre while freely
experimenting with what’s come to be known as “new media” on the modern
front: refracted light, projections, music and electronic enhancements. Mel
passed away in 1993, but Dorothy, now in her nineties and still resiliently
creative, remarkably continues those experiments begun decades ago
at her Lumonics studio and gallery in metro Denver. The Tanners will get their
due with Then & Now: A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy
& Mel Tanner, an eye-popping exhibit (and their first full retrospective) opening
on Friday, January 13, with a reception from  6 to 10 p.m. at the MOA Indoor
Gallery, 1000 Englewood Parkway in Englewood. Then and Now runs through
March 24; visit for details. Learn more about Dorothy Tanner
and Lumonics at


Photographer: John Leyba/The Denver Post

Light Fantastic
Plugging in, turning out and turning up the story of Dorothy and
Mel Tanner at the MOA

by Ray Mark Rinaldi, Special to the Denver Post
Jan. 19, 2017

“I’m a long story,” Dorothy Tanner says of herself. And she tells it, in bits
and pieces….

read more


left to right:
Tablet by Mel Tanner
Directional by Mel Tanner
Ezekiel’s Wheel by Mel Tanner
Carnival by Mel Tanner
(Heather A. Longway/ Heather Longway Photography ©2017)


left to right:
Inversion by Mel Tanner
Sandcastle by Dorothy Tanner
Alien Princess by Dorothy Tanner
Collage by Dorothy Tanner
(Heather A. Longway/ Heather Longway Photography ©2017)



Denver Life


Dorothy Tanner Lumonics I
Dorothy Tanner talks Lumonics: part sculpture, music, lights and electronics—
with potential healing powers.
Q&A: Dorothy Tanner, 94, on Lumonics, Her Light-Based Art Form
By: Hayley Woodward
“Light, music and art combine for a wild, psychedelic ride at ‘Then & Now:
A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture,’ the first retrospective exhibit of the
work of Dorothy and Mel Tanner, on display now at The Museum of Outdoor Arts,
headquartered inside the Englewood Civic Center.”
continue reading


Museum of Outdoor Arts hosts intriguing Lumonics show
by Sonya Ellingboe

“The glowing exhibit includes examples of work from the long, rewarding careers of
two artists who early on realized the many possibilities of plexiglass, combined with light
and color.”
read article


Art in Light
Le sculture di luce di Dorothy Tanner: un viaggio nel colore – Luce e Design
Una lunga storia, quella che unisce in quasi cinquant’anni di produzione nel mondo della
light art l’artista americana Dorothy Tanner e del marito Mel Tanner. Oggi, l’ormai…
Based on Ray Rinaldis article in The Denver Post


“This soundtrack contains recordings made at Museum of Outdoor Arts- MOA during
the Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery opening on Friday, January 13, 2017. The
soundtracks begins with songs by Dorothy Tanner. Dorothy’s ethereal voice meshed
perfectly with the Lumonics artwork. An excerpt from the Buddha Bomb DJ set of
that night follows the first 32.5 minutes comprised of Dorothy Tanner’s music.”
– excerpted from Buddha Bomb’s Soundcloud page



by Patrick Lyons

Patrick Lyons and Dorothy Tanner


Don’t miss the captivating show at MOA Indoor Gallery!  It’s a spectacle of light and
design.  Meeting Dorothy was a golden opportunity for me, living in Denver. She’s one
of our hidden treasures.
read blog
Art Shows to See by Michael Paglia, Westword
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017 AT 8:04 A.M

Rondo by Dorothy Tanner
Lumonics Then & Now. The eye-dazzling yet relaxing Lumonics: Then & Now:
A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy & Mel Tanner transforms the
interior galleries of the Museum of Outdoor Arts into a world of their own. The spotlights
have been dimmed so that the Tanners’ internally lighted transparent acrylic sculptures
and wall panels, along with their projected videos, can gently glow in the near-darkness.
A soft electronic soundtrack composed by Dorothy Tanner and longtime collaborator
Marc Billard adds another soothing aspect to the exhibit. Mel and Dorothy were already
established artists when, in 1969, Mel had what Dorothy calls “an epiphany.” At the time,
he was creating abstract paintings and she was doing abstract sculptures. Mel’s
breakthrough was the realization that they should add light, sound and, in the early
years, performance to their conjoined practices, and Dorothy readily embraced the idea.
Mel worked in this way until the end of his life; Dorothy, who is 94, is, believe it or not, still
at it. This show is not to be missed. Through March 24 at the Museum of Outdoor Arts,
1000 Englewood Parkway, 303-806-0444, Read the full review of
 Lumonics: Then & Now.


 Jabberwocky by Dorothy Tanner
Michael McIntyre


Space City by Mel Tanner
Photographer:  Michael McIntyre


Space Flower by Dorothy Tanner
Photographer: Gregory Daurer


 Inversion by Mel Tanner (foreground)
 Messenger by Dorothy Tanner
Photographer: Gregory Daurer


Sand Castle by Dorothy Tanner
Photographer: Diane Allison


Blue Field by Mel Tanner
Photographer: Diane Allison


Messenger by Dorothy Tanner
Photographer: Stefan Krusze, The Villager


Blinker (left) and Post-Mayan by Mel Tanner
Photographer: Stefan Krusze, The Villager

Floating by Dorothy Tanner
Photographer: Janine Trudell, Tailwind Media

Jupiter by Dorothy Tanner
Photographer: Janine Trudell, Tailwind Media