Tanya Mars is a feminist performance and video artist who has been involved in the Canadian art scene since 1973. She was a founding member and director of Powerhouse Gallery (La Centrale) in Montreal (the first women's art gallery in Canada), editor of Parallelogramme magazine for 13 years, and very active in ANNPAC (the Association of National Non-Profit Artist-run Centres) for 15 years. She has also been an active member of other arts organizations since the early 70's. Her work is often characterized as visually rich layers of spectacular, satirical feminist imagery. She has performed widely across Canada, as well as internationally in Chile, Mexico City, Sweden, Ireland, France, Poland, China and Finland. Her most recent major work, a 14-hour durational performance entitled "6 Images in Search of an Artist: Remix" was influenced by the French tapestries La tenture de la dame à la licorne, Christine de Pizan's 15th century novel The City of Ladies and the music of George Crumb and was performed at The Theatre Centre in Toronto as part of the Free Fall Festival in collaboration with Harbourfront's World Stage. She is co-editor with Johanna Householder of OCAD of Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women (2004) published by YYZ books and they are currently working on a second volume which is being supported by FADO. She is a member of the 7a*11d Collective that produces a bi-annual International Festival of Performance Art in Toronto. She currently teaches performance art and video at the University of Toronto Scarborough and is part of the graduate faculty of the Master of Visual Studies Program at the University of Toronto. In 2004 Mars was named artist of the year for the Untitled Arts Awards in Toronto. She is the recipient of a 2008 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts and was recently an International Artist in Residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. In addition a book on her work published by FADO and edited by Paul Couillard, Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars, was launched in May of 2008.
Performance art; Feminist art; Video art