Gene Tanta dreamed of becoming an artist under the rationed TV flickers of communist Romania. He emigrated with his family to the US when he was 10. He earned his MFA (Iowa) and PhD (UW-Milwaukee) in poetry, taught 3rd graders and graduate students, edited and translated anthologies, and worked hard to master the art of composting. He returned to Romania in 2012-13 with a Fulbright grant. This experience rekindled his dream of making art. He is currently making art, part of the Enos Park Residency for Visual Artists in Springfield, IL.
Tanta seeks space where in he can be challenged by a smart, even a contentious, community to shape his work as it continues to develop at the crossroads of poetry and visual culture. Resistance is fuel.
Marcel Duchamp called a urinal art while Andy Warhol saw business as the highest form of art. Tanta’s visual poetry lives in the space between, as a kind of sublimated irony. He writes: “It feels only natural to me to include words in my paintings because, I suppose, I have come to think of language itself as a medium. Pointing to the ever-flowing paint beneath my brush, to paraphrase Heraclitus, with drips and lines and dots affords me the occasion to suggest that our deeply held human desire for closure is a teleological illusion.” The work is always done. The work is never done.