Elizabeth Tana
About the Artist
Affiliations and Exhibitions
About the Artist

Elizabeth Tana's  art is usually related to her Asian heritage. She was born in northern China to parents who were life long collectors of Asian art. As a youth, she had wide exposure to the arts, with lessons in Chinese brush painting. A catalog of memories from her early journeys in Tsing Tao in northern China to more recent experiences in San Francisco provides a continuing source of inspiration. As a result, her work is diverse in expression and medium. The traditions in the Asian art collection of Elizabeth’s parents also influence her work.

Elizabeth graduated from the University of Oregon with a major in interior architecture and a minor in painting. Like the strong influence of exposure to the arts during her youth, Elizabeth's background in architecture has helped shape her artwork, both oil painting and printmaking.  She uses oil and acrylic in both printmaking and painting, along with collage and photo transfer.  She often starts painting without a fixed idea, proceeding quickly and spontaneously. Elizabeth believes making art is an evolutionary journey.

Two of Elizabeth's paintings - "Tulips" and "Fragments" - were selected for the Arts in Embassy program and were displayed in a United States Embassy from 2001 - 2004. "Fragments" was on the cover of the embassy's program.

Elizabeth's solo show in 2000, "Fragments of Memory", used gestures, images and symbols from her Chinese heritage and past that have fascinated her since she began to paint. These paintings offered the comfort of recognizable symbols steeped in the significance of Chinese culture. In a departure from Elizabeth’s love of oil painting, the work of the show incorporated collage elements and techniques, such as photo transfer, that she normally reserves for printmaking.

Elizabeth's solo show in 2002, "Remains of Journey", featured her then latest series of paintings with the same elegant interplay of colors, shapes and lines, but communicated a different experience, and thus a different set of symbols and images. Elizabeth was born during WWII, and her family moved often. Elizabeth eventually arrived in San Francisco. Her shipyard images in the paintings in this show spoke to her travels, yet also offered hope of looking forward and a yearning for a better life in a time of uncertainty.

Elizabeth's work in 2012, "Thumbprints", featured two showcase works. "Thumbprints" focused on the unique marker that identifies each person as an individual. "Cursive" was inspired by Chinese calligraphy from the Fifth Century, a form still used today, with the cursive form representing life, beauty and energy.  Each stroke also illustrates the writer's identify like a signature.

In April 2014, Elizabeth's  etching with chine colle print "Villagers" was selected for the print and photography collection in the United States Library of Congress.

In May 2015, Elizabeth's etching and dry point print "Journey" was preliminarily selected to the shortlisted works in the 2015 Gualan International Print Biennial Competition at the China Printmaking Museum in Shenzen, China. Over 2000 artists from 83 countries submitted 4000 prints for consideration.  Three hundred or so prints were selected for the shortlisted works.

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