Campus Life

Tanabe captures essence of landscape

Takao Tanabe is one of the many outstanding artists featured in the University of Lethbridge's renowned Art Gallery. The Gallery, located behind the Sorel Etrog Moses sculpture in the Centre for Fine Arts on level 6, houses one of the finest art collections in the entire country.

Takao Tanabe

Born in Prince Rupert in 1926, Takao Tanabe spent the early part of his life interned with his family and other Japanese-Canadians in the B.C. Interior as a result of the Second World War. After the end of the war and having worked several menial jobs, Tanabe decided to go to art school. Sixty years later, Tanabe's work can be found in more than 50 public and 120 corporate collections around the world.

Tanabe was known throughout the '50s and '60s as an abstract painter, studying with such well-known abstract expressionists as Hans Hofmann. Tanabe's artistic development underwent a dramatic shift in the late 1960s when he began to move away from abstraction towards a concentration on landscape painting. The artist sought a simple landscape form, which he could execute in a spontaneous manner . . . one 'go' or one application of paint.

Throughout his career, Takao Tanabe has received numerous awards, including Doctor of Letters (Hon.) from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, Doctor of Fine Arts (Hon.) from The University of Lethbridge, and the Order of British Columbia. His work and the example set by an esteemed career as an artist, art educator and administrator were recognized by the Governor General in April of 1999 when Tanabe was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2003, Tanabe was the recipient of The Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts. Since 1980, the artist has lived and worked in Errington on Vancouver Island.

Tanabe will be one of the featured artists at the University of Lethbridge Main Gallery in A Little History on the Prairies, opening in January 2011.