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Video is both animate and inanimate in that it is a material or object designed to record and play back life’s animation. My practice explores this idea by treating video art like painting, sculpture, or collage – as a mere material versus a traditional cinematic, narrative medium, highlighting video’s object-ness. As part of this, I create vignettes around enhanced and decorative patterns typically based off nature, transforming the natural into the supernatural or synthetic. My video “tapestries” are a meditation on the power of visual repetition – what I refer to as “visual chants" that help me deconstruct the visual language of video and it’s place in contemporary culture.
For the last four years, I’ve focused on installations that center textile objects as the subject matter and deploy my video tapestries as the background, which I then photograph and film to produce a series of work. Textile is a common backdrop of still life paintings and these installations play with this idea by visually obscuring what is subject/foreground and context/backdrop to conceptually make them the same. I also explore how "cloaking" or concealing something has a dual effect of imbuing an object with multiple and sometimes contradictory meanings. For example, a cloaked object could be viewed as precious or shameful, as an anticipated debut or something going into retirement.




Breath Deep (2022), image for 6' x 4' light box prints, part of "m/other" project, produced with support from Christian Sorensen Hansen


BIO anchor

Emily Tanner-McLean (b. 1983, she/her) is a multimedia artist working primarily with video. A child of the MTV generation, Emily came of age at a time when media’s grip on culture and politics exponentially tightened. While earning her Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art at New York University (2005), she witnessed the attacks of 9/11 and became acutely aware the media’s role in manipulating the public’s consciousness. This experience seeded an interest in media’s generative capacity to promote new, awareness-building ways of thinking. 

Following undergrad, Emily worked in fundraising for cultural organizations and then for park projects in New York and Seattle, securing funding for public art and community programs. In 2013, she completed a Master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on cultural policy. This career and her studies educated her in the complex ecosystem in which artworks and programs are developed. It also stimulated her curiosity in the varied and often contradictory ways people perceive environment and symbols, a subject that informs her current art practice. 

Emily was born in California, raised in New York, and has called Seattle home since 2014.



CV anchor

New York University, Bachelor of Studio Arts, 2005
New York University, Master of Public Administration, Cultural Policy Studies, 2013
Solo Exhibition
Ghost Mass, December 2020 – February 2021, Glass Box Gallery, Seattle WA
For Those Who Have Seen the Elephant, May – August 2020, Inscape Arts and Cultural Center, Seattle WA
Rose/rose/rose/rose, January 18 – February 16, 2020, The Vestibule, Seattle WA
Follow Me Through Four Levels, November 2018, goCstudio, Seattle WA
Group Exhibitions
Venus Figurines (1-4), 4Culture’s 2024 Storefront Media Gallery program, March 6 – 31, 2024, Seattle WA
XO Seattle, part of Forest for the Trees at Railspur, July 22 – August 21, 2022 Seattle WA
Untitled group show, December 2, 2021 – January 14, 2022, The En Gallery, Seattle WA
Light and Graphite, December 11, 2021 – January 8, 2022, studio e gallery, Seattle, WA
Series 001, August 20 – 22, 2021, Series 001 pop-up gallery, Seattle WA
Tree, a group exhibition curated by studio e gallery, June 2019, Vashon Center for the Arts, Vashon WA
Lungs/Limbs, January - February 2019, The Vatican at studio e gallery, Seattle WA
Peace By Piece, August 2005, Old Bank of Japan at Hiroshima Branch, Hiroshima, Japan
Peace By Piece, May 2005, Desbrosses Gallery, New York NY

Public Projects
Point of Origin, Tides (2022), Port of Seattle public art commission, Concourse C, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, WA (installed December 2023)
m/other (2022) light box prints, 2023 Storefronts, a program of Shunpike, Seattle WA
2021-22 Lusio Light’s Shine on Seattle exhibition, Seattle, WA
woman is a word, B-side, November 2021—May 2022, Port of Seattle Headquarters, Pier 69, Seattle WA

Other Honors + Awards
Inscape Artist-in-Resident, February - August 2020, Inscape Arts and Cultural Center, Seattle, WA
Centrum Foundation Artist-in-Resident, Fall 2019, Fort Worden, Port Townsend WA
NYU Alumni Representative and Participating Artist, Peace by Piece, a group exhibition at Bank of Japan, Hiroshima, in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, August 2005



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