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Then and Now: A Retrospective
100 Colorado Creatives 3.0: 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.
Review: Lumonics Then & Now Shines at Museum of Outdoor Arts
by Michael Paglia
Feb. 15, 2017
The eye-dazzling yet somehow relaxing Lumonics Then & Now:
A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy & Mel Tanner
transforms the interior galleries of the Museum of Outdoor Arts into a
world of their own. The spotlights have been dimmed so that the exhibit’s
internally lighted transparent acrylic sculptures and wall panels, as well as
its projected videos, can glow gently in the near-darkness. A soft electronic
soundtrack composed by Dorothy Tanner and her longtime collaborator, Marc
Billard, adds yet another soothing aspect to the exhibit.
link to article
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
Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post
“I’m a long story,” Dorothy Tanner says of herself.
And she tells it, in bits and pieces….
Dorothy Tanner, being photographed by Paul Miller in the
Black Box Gallery at the Museum of Outdoor Arts
for 5280 Magazine
Seeing the Light
A 93-year-old artist looks back on decades of unconventional work.
BY ABBEY WHITE, JANUARY 2017
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.
Destination: Art! – 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. Saturday, September 17th, 2016, 8pm-4am,
The Scarlet Venue, 131 Main Street in downtown Central City,
Colorado will open its doors to a holistic level of healing and artistic
expression that offers something for everyone, brought to you by 7
Healing Stars, Feyline and Colorado Concerts. The line-up includes:
Random Rab and Templo just to name a few. Joining the expressive
team for this event is Dorothy Tanner; light sculptor, installation artist
and director of Tanner Studio/Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery of Denver
continue reading in ArtBeat Magazine
Enigma by Dorothy Tanner
Worth the Wait – A Journey of Light with Dorothy Tanner
Quiet your mind. That’s the precedent when entering into the
showroom of Dorothy Tanner, where the setting means everything.
We all know what it is like to prepare your home or dining room for a
special occasion. The seating, placement of flowers, the arrangement of
everything is so important. This is entirely true of the configuration of
creations within her studio.
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.”
The Lumonics Light Brigade
by GREGORY DAURER
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.
Colleen Smith’s Interview with Dorothy Tanner
Colorado Expression Magazine
Sandcastle (detail) by Dorothy Tanner
Shatter the Status Quo by Candace A. Hill
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…
Jan, 26, 2016
Dorothy’s 93rd/Open House
By Brad Weismann
Dorothy Tanner will be 93 soon. Tanner is still making art, and her birthday
has been merged with an open house on January 30 at her Lumonics Light
& Sound Gallery. Friends and well-wishers, including several musicians, will be
there to celebrate her long and productive life.
Tanner and her late husband, Mel, pioneered ideas in environmental/
installation art, using synaesthetic, multi-modal concepts that incorporate
light, sculpture, water, music, projections, electronics and more. Tanner
continues to craft pieces with collaborator Marc Billard, despite recent
struggles with glaucoma and macular degeneration.
“Norman Broomhall and John Gonzales will be getting together and playing
again as hi frontier,” says organizer Barry Raphael, describing their work as
ambient; Jordan Baumgardner will be there as well, singing and playing guitar.
.And there will be face painting.
Surrounded by her works, including a slew from last year’s Creatures
From Left Field show at the Lakewood Cultural Center, Tanner should light
up the night. The party runs from 8 to 11 p.m., at Lumonics Light & Sound
Gallery, 800 East 73rd Avenue, Unit 11. For more information, go to
Rebroadcast of Interview with Dorothy Tanner
Works By 92-Year-Old Sculptor Illuminate Denver Gallery Through Holidays
BY STEPHANIE WOLF ON 12/15/2015 – 7:30AM – CPR.org
Driving around Denver this time of year, there’s no
shortage of holiday lights. At Lumonics Light & Sound
Gallery, the space is lit up brighter than a Christmas tree
nearly all year round. The Denver studio is dedicated to
the work of sculptor Dorothy Tanner. The 92-year-old artist
works with light, using materials like Plexiglas to bend
and blend vibrant rays of color.
A new exhibition of her work is now on display at Lumonics
Light & Sound Gallery through Dec. 30.
Tanner, who lives in Westminster, has been making art for
more than 60 years, and says she’s never seriously considered
retiring. “I like playing with stuff,” Tanner told CPR News
last June. “So why would I stop?”
BY DALIAH SINGER, senior associate editor, 5280 Magazine
Creatures From Left Field Installation by Dorothy Tanner,
For the first time, acclaimed sculptor Dorothy Tanner’s [Creatures] light sculptures are being exhibited as an exclusive installation. (The artist moved her studio to Denver in 2008.) The free-standing sculptures and wall hangings are crafted from acrylic and LED lights.
Bonus: Tanner is collaborating with David Taylor, artistic director and choreographer of the Zikr Dance Ensemble, on a ballet entitled The Lady of the Lake, which will premiere on June 6; the dancers will carry hand-held light sculptures made by the artist.
Gallery Sketches: Five Shows in Denver
for the Weekend of September 5-7
by Susan Froyd, Arts & Culture Editor at Westword
New Light Sculptures by Dorothy Tanner
Lumonics Light & Sound Gallery
Opening reception: 7 to 10 p.m.
Remarkable nonagenarian Dorothy Tanner is still creating
new illuminated works using acrylic, LED lights — and sometimes
water. Says the 91-year-old Tanner: “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 under way by just
playing.” This is a perfect chance to get into Tanner’s work and
visit her trippy Lumonics Studio.
Thanks to EPIC Colorado Magazine for featuring Dorothy Tanner in the Spring, 2013 issue. The article is called “Electricity at Play: An Illuminating Conversation with Sculptor Dorothy Tanner” by Kelsey McMaster.
Light Supply, Museum of Outdoor Arts
Light-focused exhibits are all the rage at galleries
this summer, but the Museum of Outdoor Arts is
mixing the theme up a bit for its 30th anniversary.
Alongside light sculptures and projections by 13
local and national artists, the exhibit features an
original soundscape created by Grammy Award-
winning engineer Mickey Houlihan.
Light Supply Daily from Sat., June 25 until Sat., February 25
Let There Be Light
Artists from the metro area and across the nation will all
be represented in Light Supply, a new offering opening today
at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, which joins other local
museums (the spring exhibit Blink! at the DAM and the
MCA´s current show, Another Victory Over the Sun) in
celebrating the use of light in art. Light Supply will naturally
have its own personality, as does MOA director Cynthia
Madden Leitner’s private labor of love in the Englewood City Center.
It just seems to be the theme of the year,” says the museum´s
Tim Vacca of the exhibit, for which 90 percent of the venues lighting
has been blocked to better showcase the glowing sculptures and
wall pieces by such artists as Collin Parson, Jen Lewin, Andy Miller,
Dorothy and Mel Tanner and others. But, he adds, the overall effect
will be inviting: “You´ll see the glowing lights and be drawn into the
gallery.” Or outdoors: MOA Wizard-in-Residence Lonnie Hanzon
also created a gouache billboard installation with a video element
that will light up the museum´s sculpture garden every evening.
Light Supply opens today at the MOA, 1000 Englewood Parkway,
with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m., and continues through next
February. For details, go towww.moaonline.org or call 303-806-0444.
Dorothy Tanner’s luminous sculptures light
up the night at Vertigo
by Ben Dayton, Denver Westword Blogs
Sat., Oct. 16 2010
It was third Friday-time again last night, and at Vertigo Art Space, that
means artist reception time. Though not as crazy as the first Friday gallery
openings on Sante Fe, third Friday receptions often provide a more intimate
and focused evening for art fans. Last night, Dorothy Tanner hosted her solo
show, The Light Fantastic from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 960 Santa Fe Drive.
Tanner’s free-standing sculptures and wall hangings use acrylic and LED
lights as main ingredients to create luminous experiences for the viewer.
Of her work she says, “I create environments that make people high,
which I like since getting high has been one of my principle occupations
Of course, she’s right at home here in the Mile High City. Tanner recommends
viewing the artworks in the evening so as to “experience the effect of light on
the walls, people and the total space.”
The show will be on view through November 13th, and if you didn’t get
a chance to make it out last night to say hi, make sure you at least cruise
down Sante Fe drive, between 9th and 10th avenues one of these evening soon
to catch a glimpse of the glowing sculptures through Vertigo’s large front
windows. It will be a sight to see.
For more information, visit www.vertigoartspace.com
Photo: Lumonics Light and Sound Theatre,
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Excerpts from Pre-Colorado:
Lumonics Installations, Gallery and Museum Exhibits
“The key to so much of the art of Lumonics [is] light. The studio’s
founders, Dorothy Tanner and her late husband, Mel, use light and
acrylic the way painters use oil and canvas — as a primary medium for
Michael Mills, New Times Broward Palm Beach
“If inner space is the last frontier, then Mel and Dorothy Tanner
are its pioneers. They create an aesthetic experience unlike any other.
A walk through the Lumonics Gallery is a bit like a tour of some
futuristic spaceship. The plastic sculptures blink, drip, turn and glow.
Like the Wizard of Oz behind a curtain, they create a separate reality.”
Barbara Marshall, Broward Close-up, Channel 2 (WPBT Public TV)
“Think of Dorothy and Mel Tanner as modern-day Timothy Learys.
Their sound-and light-filled habitat, a Disneyland for the brain, is the
only mind-altering substance they offer. Drop in, tune out, and turn on.
The Tanners will take you to anywhere your brain desires.”
Tracie Cone, The Miami Herald
* Tracie Cone, Pulitzer Prize recipient, is now the publisher
of The Pinnacle News in the San Jose, CA area.
“If you are stumped as to what to do Saturday night, consider
spending a visually stimulating, thoroughly entertaining, mind-
expanding evening at Lumonics. Art and technology meet to
create a veritable shrine to the future’s possibility. It is a timely
vision we should not fail to see.”
Alex Loret de Molac, New Miami Magazine
“As much as I relish the whole performance aspect of Lumonics,
I welcome anything that expands the audience for the individual
artworks in all their marvelous diversity.The art of Lumonics is
first and foremost an experiential art. That’s only as it should be.”
Michael Mills, art writer, New Times Broward-Palm Beach
excerpted from introduction to Art of Lumonics
(Coral Springs Museum), Coral Springs, FL
“Imagine walking into another ‘civilization’ where verbal communication
is kept limited and visual and audio communications are allowed to
roam freely. This idea has come to life at Lumonics.”
The Chariot, Taravella High School, Coral Springs, FL
“You’ve heard of Pop Art, Op Art, and Kinetic Art. Mel and Dorothy
Tanner create what could be called ‘Wow Art’. In truth, the Tanners do
have a better term for their acrylic sculptures: ‘Lumonics.’ ”
Skip Sheffield, Boca Raton Daily News
“Contemporary Art at its most up-to-date…”
Millie Wolff, Palm Beach Daily News
“So what is it like? Words are inadequate; it is, after all, a
non-verbal experience. Suffice it to say that emotions and the
imagination are exercised in ways rarely experienced in everyday
Eric Furry, Sweet Potato, Bangor, Maine
article by Robin Shear, photos by Callie Zirkle
Eastsider, ©Forum Publishing Group
article by Michael Mills, photos by Lannis Waters
©Palm Beach Post
article by Tracie Cone, photos by Joe Rimkus, Jr.
©The Miami Herald
article by Jon Marlowe
©Miami News (1975)