“Light has the power to create, define, and solidify; or leave in shadow that which we believe to be real.”
“The major challenge for me in art is to keep under control the tyranny of a logical mind. The spirit that moves me is capricious, unruly and irreverent. Most of my work grows out of intuitive impulse — the rest gets underway by just playing.”
Dorothy Tanner



Dorothy Tanner poses with her Lumonics sculpture “Logo.”
photo by Candace Hill

100 Colorado Creatives 3.0: Dorothy Tanner

Bronx-born nonagenarian Dorothy Tanner and her late husband, Mel Tanner, began building Plexiglas light sculptures in the hip ’60s, but the two were always more than sculptors. Rather, their life’s work was a spiritually driven multimedia gestalt of music, motion and mind-blowing visuals they dubbed Lumonics. Since Mel’s death in 1993, Dorothy has continued to carry the Lumonics torch, relocating her studio to Denver in 2008. As a preview to the first comprehensive retrospective of their work, opening on January 13 at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, we invited Dorothy Tanner to enlighten our readers with her answers to the 100CC questionnaire.

Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post

Light Fantastic
Plugging in, turning out and turning up the story of Dorothy and Mel Tanner at the MOA
by Ray Mark Rinaldi, Special to the Denver Post
Jan, 19, 2017

“I’m a long story,” Dorothy Tanner says of herself. And she tells it, in bits and pieces….
read more




Seeing the Light
A 93-year-old artist looks back on decades of unconventional work.

Photo by Paul Miller of DorothyTanner in front of Shazam at the Museum of Outdoor Arts


While Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and the Who were all busy playing with their lasers, Westminster artist Dorothy Tanner was inventing a different kind of light show. In the ’60s, together with her late husband, Mel, the now 93-year-old created an artistic style known as Lumonics, a technique that involves LED-lit abstract sculptures backed by soundtracks that add to the display’s mood. Lumonics soon took off, and the Tanners brought the art form with them, often collaborating with theater troupes and musicians, when they moved to places as far-flung as Miami and Maine. Several years after Mel died, Dorothy moved to Colorado, where she opened Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery at Tanner Studio. “Palm trees and flatlands become boring after a while,” she says. By that point, Dorothy had been diagnosed with glaucoma and macular degeneration. But even though her vision is deteriorating, she hasn’t stopped creating. In fact, you can still see her immersive installations in Then and Now: A Retrospective Exhibition of Light-Based Sculptures by Dorothy & Mel Tanner, debuting January 13 at the Museum of Outdoor Arts.


MOA is pleased to announce Lumonics Then & Now: A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy & Mel Tanner. This is the first ever retrospective exhibition covering over 50 years of creation by Dorothy and Mel Tanner. Join us at the opening reception of this spectacular exhibition on January 13th from 6-10pm at MOA’s Indoor Galleries. The opening will include hors d’oeuvres and libations and will feature live music mixing by DJ Buddha Bomb, incorporating some of the music of Dorothy Tanner and Marc Billard.
more info

Video of Dorothy Tanner Installation in the Black Box Gallery at MOA
Video by Marc Billard
Music by Tanner/Billard

  Dorothy Tanner has created the Lumonics Mind Spa downstairs at The Scarlet at 131 Main Street, Central City, CO.  Read Wendy L Pitton R’s blog below:
 The Scarlet Venue – Music – Visual Arts – Healing Arts
What happens when you combine the healing arts with the visual arts and live music? An introduction into beauty, empowerment and contemplation begins.
continue reading in ArtBeat Magazine



 Worth the Wait – A Journey of Light with Dorothy Tanner

It took two years before our life’s schedules would align for this interview. It was as if the stars knew that the setting wasn’t right until now. Her showroom is dark upon entry from the bright outdoors. It takes a few moments to begin seeing the colorful lighting around you as your eyes adjust. It takes a few moments more to grasp the beauty that surrounds you. Leave everything that you carry with you at the door; your uncertainty, your day of working that 9 to 5 job, because you have now entered into the serenity and positive light that is the artwork of a true legend.
When asked where she finds her inspiration, “I don’t find it… it finds me.”

Read the Full article in print form

Shatter the Status Quo by Candace A. Hill
Dorothy Tanner gazing at Logo

I first met Dorothy Tanner about ten years ago, dancing among a crowd of sweaty bodies. I didn’t know I was looking for a petite elderly woman, I just knew I wanted to meet the extraordinary artist I’d heard so much about. Dorothy Tanner is the founder of Lumonics; an unusual gallery in Denver, Colorado, featuring the LED lit Plexiglas sculptures she creates. Lumonics hosts workshops, school field trips, yoga classes, meditations, and music events of all kinds. So, when a DJ friend of mine landed a gig there, I went with great anticipation.

As I wandered into the darkened gallery dream space filled with the soft glow of whimsical sculptures that looked like abstract life forms and alien space ships, I knew I’d found something special. The outside world seemed to disappear, and I suddenly realized that I had just entered a gateway into a new dimension where…
read more

Arts District, Rocky Mountain PBS 

The “Arts District” (Rocky Mountain PBS) episode about Dorothy Tanner has been selected for airing on national PBS stations. It most recently aired on Los Angeles Public TV’s LA ART.

“Light and sound artist Dorothy Tanner creates breathtaking sculptures using light, and she also uses sound to create a mesmerizing, multi-sensory experience. Dorothy takes us into her Denver studio and gallery — Lumonics.”



The Lumonics Light Brigade
Confluence Denver

Nonagenarian Denver artist Dorothy Tanner marches to the beat of her own drummer. The sculptures at her Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery defy convention, fusing light and sound.
Read more



photo collage courtesy of Jeanne Connelly, Denver Westword
Artist House Tour: Dorothy Tanner Illuminates Westminster Home

With Transcendent Artwork

Indie design blogger Jeanne Connolly loves to see how creative people put their houses together. In this series, she shares some of her favorite homes, taking us inside unique private spaces in Denver and beyond. Dorothy Tanner harnesses light and sound to transport her audience into another realm of reality. Her transcendent artwork and sound create a surreal perspective that glows at her studio/event center, Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery. But her 2,800 square-foot home is also full of light and love, and that’s where we caught up with Tanner to talk about her art.

Colleen Smith’s Interview with Dorothy Tanner

Colorado Expression Magazine
sandcastle_collen smith22
Sandcastle (detail) by Dorothy Tanner


Colorado Public Radio
Staying Vital As Time Marches On: Art Can Hold The Key
Ryan Warner’s Interview with Dorothy Tanner

“Light artist Dorothy Tanner, 92, speaks with 5-year-old Kaya Naslund about one of the “creature-like” sculptures featured in her current exhibition, ‘Creatures From Left Field,’ at the Lakewood Cultural Center.”
(photo by Corey H. Jones/CPR News)

“Sculptor Dorothy Tanner’s work is best seen in the dark. That’s because the 92-year-old works with light, using materials like plexiglass to bend and blend vibrant rays of color. She’s been making art for more than 60 years.”



Reinventing the Image
Museum of Outdoor Arts, 2016

Creatures From Left Field by Dorothy Tanner
Lakewood Cultural Center, 2015

A Light Journey at Denver International Airport,
Feb. 2014 – May, 2014 DIA Exhibit

moa_6666   Light Supply Exhibit
Museum of Outdoor Arts

vertigo_sign4444 (1)
 The Light Fantastic by Dorothy Tanner
VERTIGO Art Space Exhibit

blueman_firedance_mini-1Dorothy Tanner & Mel Tanner Exhibit
Union Station Fund-Raiser for The Welcome Arch

Dorothy Tanner collaborated with David Taylor, artistic director
and founder of the Zikr Dance Ensemble, to create light sculptures for the
world premiere of The Lady of the Lake, performed in the summer of 2015.


Additional Art Installations



slimcat_mini3Denver Arts Week:
Dorothy Tanner’s light sculptures make Lumonics glow

This is one in a series of posts in honor of Denver Arts Week
that salute some of our favorite people and places on the arts scene.”

Amber Taufen, Denver Westword

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