Tanya Joyce at work on Mt. Tamalpais mural


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Tanya Joyce’s first solo exhibition in 1959 drew favorable comment from world-famous sculptor Jacques Lipchitz. This exhibit was held at the Fleming Museum of the University of Vermont. During her Vermont years, Tanya‘s mentors included painter Francis Colburn and literary critic Dorothy Van Ghent, marking from the start Tanya’s parallel commitments to visual arts and literature.

From 1960 to 1967, Tanya lived in San Francisco. She studied with Richard Graf, Manuel Neri, and James Weeks at the San Francisco Art Institute and with John Gardner and Wright Morris at San Francisco State University. At this time, Tanya painted the portrait of actor Robert Ronan, with whom she worked at the first annual Champlain Shakespeare Festival in Burlington, Vermont.

In San Francisco, Tanya developed a mixed media technique of water-based paints and soft pencils to create dream scenes and personal evocations of San Francisco landmarks. With photographer Frances Rodgers, she curated and installed a year-long series of exhibits at San Francisco State University. Titled "Language in a Visual Setting," the series included painting, sculpture, prints, calligraphy, illumination, textiles, and plants.

Tanya read with the Pegasus Program of the San Francisco State Poetry Center. She received a fine arts purchase award in 1964. In that same year, Tanya created language laboratory recordings of Chaucer’s English, under a grant from the National Council of Teachers of English. These recordings were the first of their kind in the United States.

Her first San Francisco solo exhibit of paintings was held at the Lawson Galleries in 1967.

John Soane on the Prarie, 1971
From 1968 to 1972, Tanya lived in DeKalb, Illinois. At this time she was represented by the Marianne Deson Gallery of Chicago. During these years, she sent solo exhibits to the Lawson Galleries, San Francisco; Celebrity Centre, Los Angeles; Western State College of Colorado, Gunnison; and to the Fleming Museum of the University of Vermont. Her paintings were included in group exhibits at the Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago and at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Her pocketwatch series, blending Illinois prairie landscapes with geometric forms, sold out during exhibits in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Late in 1972, Tanya Joyce returned to the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 1984, she has maintained a studio in Hunters Point Shipyard, San Francisco, the largest arts community in the country. Concurrent with her shipyard studio, she has had home studios in San Francisco (1972 – 1984), Oakland (1985 – 1996), and Emeryville (1996 – present). In the 1970s, Tanya taught at the deYoung Museum Art School, at private schools in San Francisco, and held outdoor painting classes in the Strybing Arboretum. She conducted a correspondence with literary critic John W. Aldridge, out of which grew her long poetic work, "DuBoce Park: A Quartet," as well as her "letter poems" to Dorothy Van Ghent, Sam Francis, Wright Morris, and other artists.

Her work in acrylic media began in 1980. While exhibiting at selected public locations in California, Tanya concentrated on open studio and home studio events so that she could more frequently discuss her work with her collectors. She developed lasting artistic ties with professionals in the computer industry, where she was a technical editor, writer, and manager of documentation from 1979 to 1988. Through her example, she encouraged colleagues to display original paintings, photographs, kites, cards, and plants in offices and cubicles.

Since leaving the computer industry to focus exclusively on art and literature, Tanya has exhibited her paintings at three computer companies. Several of her collectors have shown Tanya’s art at computer companies where they work. In 1997 and 1998, Tanya installed extensive groupings of paintings in two buildings of a major California software developer.

Her compositions in acrylic grew out of commuting over Bay Area bridges and driving from San Francisco to Berkeley, Davis, and San Jose. Reminding some of David Hockney and others of Georgia O’Keefe, these paintings formed the backbone of Tanya’s first acrylic style.

A new element of calligraphy was added to her work when she and San Francisco poet/painter Anna Ruth Kipping, started the Blue Teapot School of Chinese Influenced American Art. Since that time, Tanya’s Mother Buddhas, Cat Buddhas and Mythic Female Figures have been shown at the San Francisco Zen Center; the Waukesha Campus of the University of Wisconsin; at Portland State University in Oregon; and at additional Bay Area venues. The Mother Buddha series, painted on paper she herself made, sold out during four San Francisco Bay Area exhibitions.

In 1996, Tanya completed an eight-foot by twelve-foot mural of Mt. Tamalpais, as seen from the East Bay, for a private collector in Contra Costa County. In August 2000 Tanya completed the mural "Can You See It From The Moon" at Cowden Automotive, San Francisco. This mural is over 50 yards in length, and is the second largest permanently installed interactive mural in the world (exceeded only by the Sears Tower Skydeck mural in Chicago). She is currently designing a mural for a residential garden in San Francisco. Another of her current large-scale projects is developing nature motifs on tarpaulins to be used as stage sets during the Rakkassah Festival’s annual international dance performances.

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