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Past Exhibition

Edwin Tanner: Mathematical Expressionist

In the catalogue for his solo exhibition in 1961, Edwin Tanner (1920-1980) was described as ‘the sole member of the class “mathematical expressionists”’.  It is a fitting description of an artist whose works deftly and often wittily combine his diverse range of interests and expertise, including engineering, mathematics, aeronautics and analytic philosophy, together with his great passion for literature, poetry, music and art. These wide-ranging experiences provided the artist with a rich, diverse and idiosyncratic store of imagery from which to draw: from shipyards and power plants to velodromes and airfields; from office interiors to literary allusions; and from circuit boards and blueprints to propositional calculus and musical notation.

As an artist-engineer, what distinguishes much of Tanner’s practice is his ability to integrate the calculated linear design of his engineering profession, with a poetic sensibility for luminous space and colour. Designing, constructing and working amongst machinery throughout his life, his dual occupation also gave Tanner insights into the interdependence, and even interchangeability, of humans and machines.

A non-conformist by nature, many of Tanner’s works convey his scepticism towards orthodoxy and convention whether in workplace bureaucracy, religious belief, social structures, and even the art world itself. While at times his perceptions are gently mocking, tongue-in-cheek and witty, they could also express a more acerbic, troubling and even dystopian world view.

Featuring over 60 paintings and drawings from 1952 to 1980, this survey exhibition also includes a range of archival material and several of Tanner’s poems, to further highlight the diverse talents of this polymath artist.

 

EDUCATION RESOURCES

Teacher’s Notes

VCE Art

VCE Studio Arts

BACK TO PAST EXHIBITION

Past Exhibition

Edwin Tanner: Mathematical Expressionist

12 May - 15 July 2018

Curated by: Anthony Fitzpatrick

In the catalogue for his solo exhibition in 1961, Edwin Tanner (1920-1980) was described as ‘the sole member of the class “mathematical expressionists”’.  It is a fitting description of an artist whose works deftly and often wittily combine his diverse range of interests and expertise, including engineering, mathematics, aeronautics and analytic philosophy, together with his great passion for literature, poetry, music and art. These wide-ranging experiences provided the artist with a rich, diverse and idiosyncratic store of imagery from which to draw: from shipyards and power plants to velodromes and airfields; from office interiors to literary allusions; and from circuit boards and blueprints to propositional calculus and musical notation.

As an artist-engineer, what distinguishes much of Tanner’s practice is his ability to integrate the calculated linear design of his engineering profession, with a poetic sensibility for luminous space and colour. Designing, constructing and working amongst machinery throughout his life, his dual occupation also gave Tanner insights into the interdependence, and even interchangeability, of humans and machines.

A non-conformist by nature, many of Tanner’s works convey his scepticism towards orthodoxy and convention whether in workplace bureaucracy, religious belief, social structures, and even the art world itself. While at times his perceptions are gently mocking, tongue-in-cheek and witty, they could also express a more acerbic, troubling and even dystopian world view.

Featuring over 60 paintings and drawings from 1952 to 1980, this survey exhibition also includes a range of archival material and several of Tanner’s poems, to further highlight the diverse talents of this polymath artist.

 

EDUCATION RESOURCES

Teacher’s Notes

VCE Art

VCE Studio Arts