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Tanner MacArthur

Artist and Lawrence University senior Tanner MacArthur focuses his creative energy on 2D abstract paintings. He prefers working with acrylic paint to explore the interdependency of elements. 

Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, MacArthur has moved numerous times in his life, the majority being along the East Coast. He graduated from high school in southern Florida before taking his education and art practice to the next level by attending Lawrence University in Appleton. 

In his work, MacArthur plays with the duality of immediateness and patience. He creates a “visual language” that promotes ambiguity, unanswered questions and fragments of understanding. MacArthur uses line and form to architect boldly-colored, sculptural scenes that viewers can interpret in a variety of ways.

Using the idea of “interbeing,” a philosophy coined by Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh, MacArthur explores building and layering these shapes and forms.

“Hạnh states that there is a cloud in a sheet of paper. The paper comes from the tree, the tree needs rain to grow, and the rain comes from the cloud. Therefore, these things are connected. The layers and ideas in my paintings interact in similar ways,” MacArthur says.

Blood Booger, Acrylic on Paper, 20 x 16in, 2018

In the past, MacArthur has shown his work in galleries such as The Trout Museum of Art, numerous spaces at Lawrence University, and through The Rabbit pop-up gallery which utilizes vacant Appleton storefronts to showcase local artists. Beyond the Fox Cities, he has also showcased artwork at Carthage College and Patrick Parrish Gallery in New York City. 

MacArthur anticipates graduating from Lawrence with a Bachelor of Arts degree this spring. He hopes to then take some time off to work on his portfolio, travel and spend time with family prior to pursuing a Master of Arts degree. 

As MacArthur approaches his final semester of senior year, he is fast-approaching his senior art exhibition at Lawrence.

“The show is slated to open at the end of May. The work that I plan to exhibit is rooted in a continued exploration of abstraction,” MacArthur says. “I am also working with ideas sparked by a recent trip to India, including architecture, decay and the deterioration of form.”

To see more of MacArthur’s work, visit  

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