Tanya Rusnak

Sessional Instructor, Drawing

“Akin to the archaeological process of layering or stratification, my approach is one of analyzing historical materials in an ongoing attempt to encompass the fluctuating temporalities of absence and presence.”


Tanya Rusnak's mixed media installations oscillate between a critical engagement with historical and contemporary sources and represent an ongoing exploration of the phenomena of time, memory, and the event. Among these phenomena she evokes the aura of objects that have weathered the passage of time and other signifiers of transience and impermanence. Dealing with traces of meaning and historical references, her work is the outcome of a historical retrieval process involving a lexicon of haunting and spectrality.

Solo exhibitions have been held at such venues as the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton); Neutral Ground (Regina); Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon); Confederation Centre (Charlottetown); Trépanier Baer (Calgary); and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge). Group exhibitions include: Screen and Décor, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art & Design, Calgary; Neo-minimalism, MOCA, Calgary, AB; and the Alberta Biennial 2005, Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton) & the Walter Phillips Gallery, (Banff). The recipient of various awards and honours, including multiple grants and research allowances awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the University of Calgary, her work is held in national and international collections.

Areas of research interest: Works with a wide variety of methods and materials to create drawings, paintings, and context-specific installations that develop in a cumulative and incremental way. Current topics of interest tend to centre around issues of temporality, historiography, aesthetics, memory and archivization, focusing on the origins of the archive, metaphysical history, and particularly the linkage between temporal experience and time perception. Topics of investigation include philosophies of mind, psychology, perception and identity.


MFA, University of Calgary, Alberta

BFA, Alberta College of Art & Design, Calgary, Alberta

l'École des arts décoratifs, Strasbourg, France

Selected Professional Activity

Screen and Décor, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art & Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 2014.

Resonant Field, TRUCK gallery/Artist-run Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 2014.

The Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Alberta, CA, 2005

Tanya Rusnak, The Grey Film of Dust; Wyn Geleynse, Aura, TrépanierBaer gallery, Calgary, Alberta, CA, 2004

Narratives of Nationhood, About Emigration (archive V), Confederation Art Gallery and Museum, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Curated by: Shauna McCabe, 2001.

About Emigration (archives II & III), (part of a larger exhibition series project entitled the Postcolonial Landscape Project, curated by Bruce Grenville and produced as a partnership between The Art Gallery of Alberta and the Mendel Art Gallery), Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1995; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, 1996.

Selected Publications

Neudorf, Kim, ACAD All Faculty Exhibition, Illingworth Kerr gallery, April 15-24th, 2010.

Rusnak, Tanya. Martin Bennett, Various Drawings. Resonant Dialogues: 25 Years of the Second Story Art Society in Calgary. Fall, 2008. ISBN 978-1-895684-27-8. 2009.

Randolph, Jeanne. Ethics of Luxury: Materialism and Imagination (Preamble: Jeanne Randolph; Afterword: Ihor Holubizky; “Regarding Consumption,” Anthony Kiendl”). Published by YYZBOOKS and Plug In ICA/Plug In Editions (2007). FORMAT: Paperback ISBN: 0-920397-46-8. P, 71.

McCabe, Shauna. “Tanya Rusnak: On Emigration, Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood,” project, Confederation Centre Art Gallery with the support of the federal government program, Canadian Culture Online, Department of Canadian Heritage. Curriculum based interactive lesson plan and website.

Grenville, Bruce. “Tanya Rusnak,” Canadian Art 12, no. 4. Winter 1995: P. 93.

Selected Awards

Alberta Foundation for the Arts Visual Arts Project Grant, 2013.

Canada Council for the Arts Visual Arts Creation/Production Grant (Mid-Career category), 2007.

Canada Council for the Arts Visual Arts Creation/Production Grants (Mid-Career category), 2002.

Graduate Research Scholarship, University of Calgary, 2003-05.

Alberta Advanced Education Graduate Student Scholarship, 2004.