About the Artist

joan tanner
© In The Make 2012.  All rights reserved.

Born in 1935 in Indianapolis, Joan Tanner has lived in Southern California since the mid-1960s. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1957 and began her career as a painter. She has been consistently exhibiting her paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and site-specific installations since 1968.

Tanner maintains a vigorous studio practice somewhat akin to a laboratory and is inspired by spatial contradictions, archetypal geometric forms and raw materials.

Her work is held in numerous private and corporate collections and in the following public collections: The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, Special Collections; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Harvard University, Houghton Library, Department of Printing and Graphics, Cambridge, Massachusetts; New York Public Library, Spencer Collection, New York City, NY; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky; and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California. Over the years, Tanner has been a visiting lecturer at the University of California--Santa Barbara, Ohio University in Athens, Illinois State University at Normal, and most recently she was an artist-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Everything Could Be Something Else 
A short film by Wayne McCall 


2023     Out of Joint, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara CA           
2021     Flaw, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati OH
2018     donottellmewhereibelong, Cressman Center for Visual Art, University of Louisville, Louisville KY
             NoTiNoRdeR: drawings and sculpture of Joan Tanner, Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke VA 
2017     donottellmewhereibelong, Slocumb Art Gallery, Eastern Tennessee State University, Johnston City TN
             donottellmewhereibelong, Weatherspoon Art Museum, UNCG, Greensboro NC
             CONTINGENt 2017, Hilliard Art Museum, Universit of Louisiana, Lafayette LA
2016     donotellmewhereibelong, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia PA
             The False Spectator, Suyama Space, Seattle WA [catlog]
2013     in direct dialogue, Jane Deering Gallery, Santa Barbara CA [folio]
2010     Tanner @ Cal Poly, Dexter Art Gallery, California Institute of Technology, San Luis Obispo CA
2009     as is, Fresno Art Museum, Fresno CA [catalogue
2006     On Tenderhooks, Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles CA [catalogue
2001     Standing Yellow, Speed Art Museum, Louisville KY 
2000     Attending Yellow, Contemporary Arts Forum, Site Specific Project, Miramar Hotel, Santa Barbara CA
1995     Close Scrutiny, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara CA, [catalogue]
1986     California Viewpoints, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara CA  [catalogue]
1982     Ruth Schaffner Gallery, Santa Barbara CA
1974     New Works/Paintings & Collage, Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara CA
1969     Windows & Tubes/Cords & Magnets, Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara CA
1967     Window Theme/First Showing, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara CA