paintings and drawings

paintings and drawings

Artist Intro

“There is an almost pop art quality to Diane Tanchak’s charcoal drawings of car wrecks. These images are unique in exposing destroyed forms, yet somehow they are more poignant than gruesome. She is able to convey both emotion and intrigue: What happened? Did the passengers survive? What would motivate an artist to focus on such devastating images? These cars, in the wrong place at the wrong time, now have no acceptable location. This illustrates the dilemma ‘neither here nor now’.”
— Heather Christensen, Curator


Trying to describe or explain my efforts at painting and drawing seems like a futile endeavor. After all, I want the images to express themselves without the necessity of words. All of my work explores my personal experience of my surroundings, whether it be a series of cityscapes or trees or car wrecks. I am always looking for its beauty, moods, spirituality, and metaphors. My work is a tension between abstract and realist styles. I seek to emphasize rhythms, lines, patterns and colors to express my connection to the everyday world around me. My best hope is that the images stand simply on their own, and find similar connections in the viewer where words fail.


Diane Tanchak grew up in Buffalo, NY. Her interest in drawing and painting began in early childhood. She moved to New York City to study with artist Nell Blaine. Subsequently, she received a scholarship to Southern Illinois University where she completed an MFA in drawing. She has worked as a muralist, graphic artist, illustrator, and pursued her own vision in drawing and painting urban and rural landscapes in an expressionist, abstract-realist style. Her work currently focuses on the darkness of night and winter in urban New York City, as well as the light of the Pacific West Coast and its trees, all representative of life, death and the promise of rebirth.



2011  Poetry of Images in Portal/Portage Doris Crowston Gallery, Sechelt, BC, Canada
2010  "A Broken Heart is Like A Car Wreck" Lotus Gallery, 34 N. Moore St., New York, NY
2008  "Pink & Bent - The Art of Queer Women" Leslie Lohman Gallery, 6 Wooster St., New York, NY
2007  "Neither Here Nor Now" ISE Gallery, 555 Broadway, New York, NY
2006  "Wrecks" Crosby Painting Studio, New York, NY 10013
2005  "Brooklyn & Beyond" Gallery at Shakespeare's Sister, Brooklyn, NY 11231
2003  Artback Gallery, 270 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
2003/00  Spring Studio, 64 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
1999  Krasdale Foods, Inc. Gallery, 400 Food Center Drive, Bronx, NY 10474
1998/5  Spring Studio, 64 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
1994  The New York Open Center, 83 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
1991  Bowery Gallery, 121 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012
1991  QCC Art Gallery, Queens Community College, The City University of New York
1991  Helio Galleries, 588 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
1988/7  A.L.G.O. 4 x 5 Gallery, 76 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003
1984  Mill Gallery, New Haven, CT
1983  Gallery At Frameworks, 1967 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
1979  Hundley House Gallery, Main at Maple, Carbondale, IL 62901
1979  University Art Galleries, Southern Illinois University


“Poetry of Images in Portal/Portage”, Jan Degrass, Coast Reporter, July 29, 2011
“Taking a 'Pink & Bent' Look At Art”, Julie Bolcer, AfterEllen.com, June 9, 2008
“Neither Here nor Now: Transformations in Time, Space”, Artdaily.org, March 17, 2007
“ART, Reviewing Painting as a Viable Medium”, D. Dominick Lombardi, New York Times, September 12, 1999

curriculum vitae

1979  M.F.A., Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
1972  B.A., State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
1983  Mural, Boston Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA
1976  Mural, Odyssey Restaurant, Buffalo, NY
1977-79  Scholarship, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
1977-79  Teaching Assistantship, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL

Computer Graphic Artist/Instructor.


Graphic Artist for Bruce Springsteen and Rolling Stones group tours.


Instructor. Southern Illinois University.


Muralist. Design and execution of a 4’ x 8’ mural for student lounge, Boston Conservatory of Music. Assisted in the technical development, drawing, and layout of 20’ x 20’ mural for City Hall, Lockport, NY



Cover of the book The True Story of Federico Fish and Ana Alligator by Cara Beckenstein
The True Story of Federico Fish and Ana Alligator

Story by Cara Beckenstein with illustrations by Diane Tanchak (2003, Laughing Gull Press).

You can enjoy this version set to song (Cara Beckenstein) with selected illustrations by Diane Tanchak from the original book on youTube: