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 Christopher Tanner  (1955 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/California      Known for: dizzying abstract design

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Coming to art from the off-Broadway scene, he is an abstractionist whose work has been described as "ebullient, dizzy, and sumptuous" (Art and Antiques, 6/99). He works from a basement studio in Manhattan's East Village, and his mix-media canvases are expressions of theatre, humor, and pop culture.

He was born near Pasadena, California, and grew up in the suburbs of that area. His father was a shoemaker and his mother a commercial artist who was also active in politics.

By age 15, he was taking art lessons from Argie Taylor, a trained artist and mother of one of his school friends who had died. Together they shared their grief through art and became great companions visiting museums, etc., and he continually credits her as the main influence on his work.

In college in San Francisco, he majored in neon sculpture and did acting at Disneyland, but not satisfied, he moved to New York in the early 1980s when the East Village was beginning to boom with art galleries and studios.

In 1985, he took a trip to Taiwan, where he saw all sorts of garishness, and this experience became the major underlying inspiration of his style of art expression. He also made lavish gilded frames for his paintings, which became works of art in themselves.

Well-known artist Robert Kushner, active in the pattern-painting movement, took an interest in his work, especially the experiments with unusual mediums such as large sequins and glitter. He also had a method of encasing his entire canvases in shiny, clear-epoxy.

He is widely collected, especially by designers and architects who appreciate the strong statements of his work. Liebman Magnan Gallery has represented him in New York, and he has shown at the Galerie Oz in Paris and the Flatland Gallery in Utrecht, Holland.

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