Janice Tanaka

Janice Tanaka brings a distinctive sensibility to her intricately textured video collages, which critic Gene Youngblood has described as being "of the highest calibre, displaying a visual brilliance and poetic resonance characteristic of a master's work." Merging social and political observations, philosophical inquiries and personal introspections, Tanaka's works use original footage, appropriated media images, and layered electronic processing to transform the autobiographical into the universal.

In early works such as Manpower and Beaver Valley (both 1980), she manipulates cinema and television images to critique media representations of gender roles and sexual difference. In Memories from the Department of Amnesia (1989), Tanaka constructs a poignant meditation on loss and memory through a lyrical collage of photographs, text and voiceover that recounts a personal history of her mother's life. In recent works such as Who's going to pay for these donuts, anyway?, and No Hop Sing. No Bruce Lee..., Tanaka extends this autobiographical inquiry into the cultural, as she explores the construction of Asian-American identity.

Tanaka writes, "I strive for my work to incorporate a primary visceral effect, coupled with an analytical statement reflecting the multiplicity of a particular experience and observation."

Tanaka received a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the Art Institute of Chicago. Before beginning her work in video, she was a dancer with the Allegro American Ballet Company and studied with the Folklorico Ballet in Mexico. She is the recipient of several National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and an American Film Institute grant. She has taught at Columbia College and the University of Colorado, Boulder; currently, she teaches at the University of California at Los Angeles. Her video works have been exhibited internationally, at festivals and institutions including the 1991 and 1993 Biennal Exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Asian American International Video Festival; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Long Beach Museum of Art, California; Bonn Videonale; and the World Wide Video Festival, The Hague. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the California Institute of the Arts.