Gayle Tanaka’s work explores the surfaces and interiors of her family history of immigration and assimilation, through the digital manipulation of portraiture, symbology and found media. Illuminated boxes and transparencies, family portraits, and digital self-portraits draw from her Japanese heritage, blended and bent to reflect the force of culture and the effect of time. All is fleeting. The permanence of change is acknowledged by the presentation of informed moments of stasis.
Gayle Tanaka was born in Chicago, Illinois. She received a B.F.A. in painting from the University of Hawaii and an M.F.A. in printmaking from San Francisco State University. Tanaka has exhibited nationally, including shows at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Jewish Museum in San Francisco, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art and the Center for Photography in New York. She currently has a studio at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island, New York.
M.F.A. (Printmaking), San Francisco State University, Distinguished Graduate Student Award
B.F.A. (Painting), University of Hawaii
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2009 Saving Face, Soho20 Gallery, New York
2007 To the New York Islands, Soho20 Gallery, New York
2005 Personal References, Soho20 Gallery, New York
2003 Gayle Tanaka: It's About Time, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, New York
2002 Personal Effects, El Museo Francisco Oller y Diego Rivera, Buffalo, New York
2000 Gayle Tanaka: Boxing Memories, A.R.C. Gallery, Chicago
1997 Office Politics, A.I.R. Gallery, New York
1996 Gayle Tanaka: Office Politics, San Francisco Art Commission, San Francisco
1995 eye/I matter(s)--Gayle Tanaka: photographic construction and installations, 1078 Gallery, Chico
Gayle Tanaka: Views From Without, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago
Gayle Tanaka: Mixed Media Photo Installation, Olga Dollar Gallery, San Francisco
1994 Olga Dollar Gallery, San Francisco
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2017 Annual Group Exhibition, Soho20 Gallery, New York
2016 Black and Blue, Soho20 Gallery, New York
2012 Always/Never, Soho20 Gallery, New York
2010 Between the Lines, Soho20 Gallery, New York
2009 The Artists of Zyzzyva, Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco
Broad Shoulders & Brotherly Love, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago
2006 Radiant, Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn
Fresh A.I.R., Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Evanston
2005 Scents of Purpose, Jewish Museum San Francisco
Silver: Snug Harbor Cultural Center Studio Program, 25th Anniversary Exhibition, New York
Artists in Residence, Anchor Graphics, Chicago
2002 A.R.C. National II, A.R.C. Gallery, Chicago
Invisible Cities, Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York
1999 Making Change, Jewish Museum San Francisco
Passing, Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino
Casa de Espantos, SOMARTS, San Francisco
Resilient Images: Reflections upon Japanese Internment, Japantown Peace Plaza, San Francisco
1998 The Mexterminator: Museo Interactivo de Etnografia Experimental & Cultura Apocaliptica,
SOMAR, San Francisco
Labyrinth: A Day of the Dead Exhibition, Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
Contents and Contexts: Lithography after 200 years, Honolulu Academy of Arts
Day of the Dead/El Dia de los Muertos: Artists’ Installations, The Museum of Art & History,
The McPherson Center, Santa Cruz
1997 VIVA: A Celebration of Three Decades at the Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley
Labyrinth for the Dead, Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco
1996 Yesterday, Today & Manana: Rooms for the Dead, Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco
1995 Kala Fellowship Awards Exhibition, Kala Institute, Berkeley
Cultural Baggage, Rice Media Center Gallery, Rice University, Houston
1994 bodies and souls, Berkeley Art Center Association, Berkeley
Rooms for the Dead, Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
1993 Object, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
2001 BCAT/Rotunda Gallery Artists' Residency, Brooklyn
2000 Knight Foundation Visiting Artist Fellowship at Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia
Anchor Graphics Artists in Residence, Chicago
1996 Puffin Foundation Grant Award
1994 Kala Fellowship Award, Berkeley, CA
Gayle Tanaka, textimage, Zyzzyva, Spring 2009.
Kara Kelley Hallmark, Encyclopedia of Asian American Artists, Greenwood Press, 2007.
Ariella Cohen, Ritual Objects Redefined, review, Forward, 6 May 2005.
Michael J. Freesola, A Fresh Take on Old Topics in 'It's About Time' Installation, review,
Staten Island Advance, 10 January 2003.
Allan L. Edmunds, Three Decades of American Printmaking: The Brandywine Workshop Collection,
Hudson Hills Press, 2004.
Blaise Schweitzer, In the Eyes of Beholders, review, Sunday Freeman, 2 June 2002.
Bruce Adams, East Meets West, review, Buffalo News, 12 April 2002.
Gayle Tanaka, I'll Miss Myself When I Die, New Graphics Revival, 2001.
Making Change: Reinterpreting the Act of Charity in Jewish Culture and Faith, review,
Spirituality & Health, Fall 2000.
Michael Weinstein, 5 Shows to See Now, review, New City, 20 April 2000.
Nancy Segal, More Than Just a Box, review, Forward, 31 December 1999.
Jean Schiffman, A Great Escape: San Francisco's Small Museums, review,
San Francisco Arts Monthly, December 1999.
Allison Arieff, A Mexican Presence: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts San Francisco, California,
review, Art Nexus, February-April 1999.
Kenneth Baker, Nontraditional Fare From Israel, Mexico: Yerba Buena shows pick apart
stereotypes, review, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 September 1998.
Jose F. Aranda, Betty Joseph and Padmaja Challakere, Unpacking Postcolonialism, review,
afterimage, January/February 1996.
Michael Weinstein, review, New City, September 1995.
Margaret Hawkins, Exhibits Look in on Outsider Art, review, Chicago Sun-Times,
1 September 1995.
Gayle Tanaka, The Long and the Short of It, Zyzzyva, Spring 1995.
Terri Cohn, Where Worlds Meet: Vida y Muerte: art that honors life through death, review, Artweek,
1 December 1994.
Terri Cohn, Shaped Identities: The Photographic Object, Camerawork, Spring/Summer 1994.
David Bonetti, Alternative Production Looks from the Floor up, review, San Francisco Examiner,
13 January 1994.
New York City, NY