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Takao Tanabe

September 27 to May 21, 2007

Organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria with assistance from the Canadian Department of Heritage, Museums Assistance Program.

This landmark exhibition is a long-overdue retrospective of the oeuvre of Takao Tanabe, internationally renowned Vancouver Island artist, winner of the Governor General’s Award, and in 1993, recipient of the Order of British Columbia.

The exhibition surveys Tanabe’s work from the 1950s through to the early years of this century. In addition to Tanabe’s West Coast landscape paintings for which he is best known, the retrospective includes paintings executed when the artist’s career took him away from British Columbia to other parts of the world. By 1980, Tanabe had returned home to his native province and settled there permanently.

When speaking of the West Coast Tanabe tells us that for him:

The West Coast has its bright, clear days, where all is revealed, but I favour the grey mists, the rain-obscured islands and the clouds that hide the details. However much we desire order and clarity in all the details of our lives, there are always unexpected events that could cloud and change our course,. Life is ragged. The Coast is like that, just enough detail to make it interesting, but not so clear as to be banal or overwhelming.

In this exhibition approximately sixty works employing a variety of media, including acrylics and oils are presented, each created with Tanabe’s carefully considered use of colour and subtlety of touch and engaging the viewer in an emotional, almost spiritual journey. Viewers will experience land, sea and sky depicted in expansive and beautiful paintings that capture a sense of quiet atmosphere and formidable size to create an awe-inspiring vision of the West Coast.

Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management Ltd in recognizing Takao Tanabe’s significant accomplishments as an artist is pleased to support the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in presenting this first retrospective of his career.
Richard Self, Vice President

Phillips, Hager & North


Takao Tanabe Video


Takao Tanabe, b.1926
Dawn, 2003
acrylic on canvas
137.4 x 304 cm
Collection of the Artist
Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery

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