I needed to see Crossing the Straight. It is a giant painting of the ocean at near-night, when nearly all the light has disappeared from the sky. Standing in front of it, I could remember watching sunsets over the ocean, sitting outside until it was too dark to really see anymore, but not being able to pull myself away and back to the real time of turning on lights and moving on to whatever needed to get done next.
Because I was at the gallery early on a weekday morning, I pretty much had the entire exhibit to myself — it was just me and the security guard making his rounds. I’m not sure what else I can say about Tanabe’s landscapes, other than when I was standing in front of them, taking them in, I could feel something in my chest open.
I wish I could find more images of his paintings online, even though they are so much smaller and less vibrant in pixels. Here are two that were part of the exhibit. The first one, after Crossing the Straight, was one of my favorites. The blue is much more stunning in real life, and so is the sweep from open sky on the left to more focused land on the right. This retrospective of Tanabe’s work will travel east, so if you get the chance, go see it in person.
Takao Tanabe: Queen Charlotte Summer 2/83, 1983, acrylic on canvas, 26″ x 60″
Takao Tanabe: Low Tide 1/94: Hesquiat Bay, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 56″ x 120″