ARTIST RESIDENCY - kazumi tanaka

The Artist Residency program was initiated in 2014 to foster creative responses to Manitoga that invoke Russel Wright's legacy of creative experimentation and celebration of place.

INK: The Color of Manitoga

Manitoga announces year five of our Artist Residency Program with the installation INK: The Color of Manitoga by Japanese artist Kazumi Tanaka who will create natural inks from plant specimens she collects in Manitoga’s woodland garden. From the color inks, a series of paintings will evolve.

Tanaka will employ her technical skills as a woodworker and antique furniture restorer to create a visually compelling Lab within the main House west gallery. There, she will experiment and make natural inks with distilled water from Manitoga’s Quarry Pool. A large-scale map will plot her collecting points over the property’s seventy-five acres, and a journal will record dates, times and the changing seasons. Visitors are invited into the Lab to experience the physical transformation from actual landscape to paintings.


2019 / Wednesday, February 13, 4-6pm, Dedalus Foundation, NYC

The Studio as Muse: How artists’ homes and workplaces stimulate scholarship and creativity. Panel includes artist Kazumi Tanaka, sculptor Judith Shea, independent scholar Dr. Bonnie Yochelson, and moderator Dr. Wanda M. Corn, the Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita of Art History, Stanford University, and curator of the exhibition, "Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern," and author of the accompanying catalogue.

2018 / Saturday, October 20, Artist-led-Tour, 4-6pm, $25. Join Kazumi Tanaka for a landscape walk and visit to her LAB installation. Learn about her process, inspirations and insights from her residency at Manitoga. Purchase tickets at BrownPaperTickets.

Faena Aleph
A Japanese Artist Uses a Plant’s Pigment to Draw the Same Plant
Atlas Obscura
How One Woman Transforms Plants into Pigment
Matteawan Gallery
No Home Go Home / Go Home No Home by Kazumi Tanaka  / May 26-July 8, 2018
The Highlands Current
INK: The Color of Manitoga
WAMC's The Roundtable
Interview with Sarah LaDuke

Executive Director Allison Cross observes that “the project lies at the intersection of art and record-keeping, science and nature, ideas and handcraft – moving between the tangible and the conceptual as it engages Russel Wright’s legacy as a craftsman, designer, naturalist and visionary.”

The work also evokes Wright’s relationship with Japan – a place that deeply influenced the creation of Manitoga and his later professional work. Tanaka was born in Osaka in a house made of wood, stone, bamboo and paper, and her work often involves her childhood memories there. “When I first visited Manitoga, I was very taken with its quiet beauty, which reminded me of some of the most beautiful landscapes I experienced while growing up in Japan. The architecture has both translucent and tranquilizing qualities and is part of the landscape that Wright cultivated over many years from a broken land.”

Tanaka adds that “Wright was one of the most popular American designers of his generation. He had so many ideas that were witty, practical and simple, yet many of his designs carry traits of Nature's complexity - for example, the color glazes he meticulously created for his American Modern and Iroquois Casual dinnerware. Inspired by his work, I will create color from the landscape created by him at Manitoga.”

INK: The Color of Manitoga builds upon the artist’s earlier work making watercolor drawings with tea, coffee, and other natural foods as well as her 2015 project Mother and Child Reunion at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia which involved experiments in indigo dye making – a traditional Japanese craft.

Installation Design: Kazumi Tanaka
Furniture Maker: Jon Reichert
Graphic design: Randall Martin


Artist Statement

I was born in Osaka, Japan, in a house made of wood, stone, bamboo and paper. At age 25,  I relocated to New York City in 1987. Employing both ancient and modern sculpting techniques, I create intricate and conceptually complex works that often involve childhood memories of Japan. My evocative work addresses the connection between the ephemeral nature of memory and the tangible mementos of history. It is a continuous search filtered through time and distance.


Kazumi Tanaka (b. 1962, Osaka, Japan) graduated from Osaka University in 1985 before relocating to New York in 1987, where she studied sculpture at the New York Studio School (1987–1990). Tanaka has exhibited at museums and galleries around the world. Solo exhibitions include presentations at the Kent Gallery between 1995 and 2003; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1993); Beacon Project Space (2002) and Hudson Beach Glass Gallery in Beacon, New York (2011). Group exhibitions include A Labor of Love, the New Museum of Contemporary Art (1996); The Quiet in the Land, at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art (1997); Model World at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2002); and Salem2Salem at Neues Museum, Salem, Germany (2012). Most recently, her work has been included in the group exhibition Silence, at Masters & Pelavin Gallery, New York (2012). Tanaka’s numerous residencies include the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine (1990); the United Society of Shakers, Sabbathday Lake, Maine (1996); in Salem, Germany (2010, 2012); Art Omi in New York (2013); and at the Citivella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy (2014). Tanaka is a 2017 Tiffany Foundation Grant recipient. She lives and works in Beacon, New York.


Lead Sponsors
David & Nanci McAlpin, Marilyn & Jim Simons

Tom Krizmanic, Gary & Laura Maurer

Joe Chapman, Sidney Babcock & José Romeu, Allison Cross & Henry Nye,
David Diamond & Karen Zukowski, Lyn & John Fischbach, Melissa Meyers & Wilbur Foster, Dick & Cathy Polich, Frederic C. Rich, Bill Roos & Scott Olsen, Katy Moss Warner. 

Artist Residency Program support also provided by Donald Albrecht, William Burback & Peter Hofmann, Jack & Cheryl Lenhart, the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation, the PCLB Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature



Photos: Mountain Laurel, Natural Ink Watercolor, Kazumi Tanaka, February 2018;  Collected Specimen - Mountain Laurel, Kazumi Tanaka, February 2018; Natural Inks #12 - #16; Bloodroot Ink, April 2008