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Kelowna gallery featuring art of 96-year-old Canadian painter and printmaker this summer

One of Canada’s most celebrated painters and printmakers will soon be featured at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

From July 1 to Oct. 1, audiences will have the opportunity to see a career-spanning retrospective of prints from Takao Tanabe, who is recognized for his beautifully rendered landscapes that bridge the gap between abstraction and realism.

<who> Photo Contributed </who> Takao Tanabe at the UBCO Print Studio

“Takao Tanabe’s work contains so much raw physical and emotional power within them,” says Nataley Nagy, the executive director at the gallery.

“We are very honoured to present this first within Canada, a 75-year survey of Tanabe’s accomplished printmaking, with work borrowed from the Vancouver Art Gallery and Winnipeg Art Gallery.”

<who> Photo Contributed </who> Cormorant Island

Some of the works to be showcased in the Takao Tanabe: Printmaker exhibition are the two linocut Christmas Cards from 1948 and a West Coast landscape titled Cormorant Island from 2023.

Prairie Storm from 1979, a landscape that breaks broader conventions in printmaking by incorporating ink hand brushing techniques, and Malacca Strait: Dawn from 2004, a woodcut intaglio print that utilizes form and colour to depict a stillness between ocean and land, will also be featured.

<who> Photo Contributed </who> Prairie Storm

“The views I favour are they grey mists, the rain-obscured islands and the clouds that hide the details,” Tanabe says of his approach. “However much we desire order and clarity in all the details of our lives, there are always unexpected events that cloud and change our course.”

“Life is ragged. The typical weather of the coast is like that, just enough detail to make it interesting but not so clear as to be banal or overwhelming. It can be a metaphor for life."

<who> Photo Contributed </who> Malacca Strait Dawn

Tanabe, who is 96 years old, won a Governor General’s Award in 2003.

He has also been a recipient of two honorary degrees, including the Order of British Columbia in 1993 and the Order of Canada in 1999.

<who> Photo Contributed </who> Bright Sky

Behind the selection of work on view at the Kelowna Art Gallery is Ian M. Thom, a guest curator who has included prints that have never been exhibited until now.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 72-page catalogue with essays by Thom and curator Christine May.

<who> Photo Contributed </who> Nootka Afternoon

Takao Tanabe: Printmaker is presented with support from the Audain Foundation, Equinox Gallery and the Mira Godard Gallery.

Anyone interested in viewing the exhibition can learn more here.

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