Takao Tanabe's early years
Living legends are rare birds indeed -- most legends forged at least partially, alas, by death, untimely or otherwise -- but Takao Tanabe can make a pretty good case for himself. Now in his 80s, Tanabe, the son of a Japanese immigrant and commercial fisherman in Prince Rupert, B.C., measures up as one of this country's most important Modern painters. In the 50s, his primal aesthetic occupied a borderland between representation and abstraction (above, that's "Window Flag II," from 1962) before working purely with abstract composition and form in the 60s. A cross-section of his work from this period opens Saturday at Mira Godard Gallery in Yorkville, where the legend himself will be present, along with more recent paintings from the last couple of decades, of oblique, bracingly serene panoramic landscapes of the British Columbia coast.