Tanya Mars

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, currently on the Board of Directors of Art Metropole.

In the 70s and 80s Mars’ work focused on creating spectacular feminist imagery that placed women at the centre of the narrative. Since the mid-90s her performances have included endurance, durational and site-specific strategies. Her work is political, satirical and humorous. She has worked both independently and collaboratively to create large-scale as well as intimate performances.

She has performed widely across Canada, as well as internationally in Chile, Mexico City, Sweden, Ireland, France, Poland, China and Finland.

Mars 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 that is being supported by FADO. She is a member of the 7a*11d Collective that produces a biennial 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.

Mars lives and works in Toronto and summers off-the-grid in Middle Ohio, Nova Scotia.

Artist Code: 210



1998, 10:00 minutes, colour, English


1996, 38:00 minutes, colour, English

Bronco's Kiss

1996, 36:00 minutes, colour, English

Mz. Frankenstein

1993, 15:30 minutes, colour, English

The End of Nature- inhouse viewing only

1991, 37:30 minutes, colour, English


1990, 79:00 minutes

Pure Sin

1990, 22:00 minutes, colour, English

Pure Nonsense - for inhouse viewing only

1987, 56:30 minutes, colour, English

Pure Sin - for inhouse viewing only

1986, 42:00 minutes, colour, English

Pure Virtue

1985, 16:30 minutes, colour, English

24 Postcards- inhouse viewing only

1983, 80:00 minutes, colour, English

Picnic In The Drift - inhouse viewing only

1981, 85:00 minutes, colour, English

Critical Writing

Artsit Lisa Steele honoured for lifetime achievement
by Staff Staff. The Globe and Mail, 2005.
Mars Attacks: Canada's senior stateswoman of performance takes two...
by Sarah Milroy. The Globe and Mail, June 10, 2004.
Not Just for Laughs: Women, Performance, and Humour
by Tanya Mars. Caught In the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women, 2004. Toronto: YYZ, 2004.
FFWD, RWD, and PLAY: Performance Art, Video, and Reflections on...
by Tagny Duff. Caught in the Act: anthology of performance art by Canadian women, 2004. Toronto: YYZ, 2004.
Gestures in the Looking Glass: Performance Art and the Body (1987)
by Dot Tuer. Caught In the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women, 2004. Toronto: YYZ, 2004.
Asserting Our Bodies
by Elizabeth Chitty. Caught In the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women, 2004. Toronto: YYZ, 2004.
Johanna Householder: Ambiguous Redemptions
by Ian Carr-Harris. Caught In the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women, 2004. Toronto: YYZ, 2004.
by Unknown. Tyranny Of Bliss, 2004. Toronto: Fado Performance Art Inc, 2004.
Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan: Performance Art Out and About
by Jennifer Fisher. Caught In the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian Women, 2004. Toronto: YYZ Books, 2004.
Alternative viewing: DVD's offer new weapon in attacking public...
by Peter Goddard. The Toronto Star, Dec. 6, 2001.
Theatrics have lead role in video art exhibit
by Liam Lacey. The Globe and Mail, 1998.
Tanya Mars
by Gordon B. Isnor. Butterbites, 1996.
Comme il faut/doom
by Sylvie Tourangeau. ETC., Summer 1995, v. 8, no. 30.
You're Beautiful Man, You're Beautiful: Beauties and Monstrosities
by Brent Cehan. Fuse, May 1994, v. 17, no. 4.
The End of Nature: Open Space, Victoria, B.C.
by Parallelogramme. Parallelogramme, 1992, v. 18, no. 1.
À la découverte des Amériques
by Daniel Carrière. Le Devoir, Aug. 29, 1992.
5 Feminist Videotapes: Redefining the Female Subject
by Shonagh Adelman. C Magazine, Winter 1991, no. 28.
Newfoundland co-op merges folk and personal resources
by Cameron Bailey. Now, June 7, 1990, v. 9, no. 39.
A Little Groening, a Little Allegory
by Randi Spires. The Toronto Star, Jan. 5, 1990.
Some high voltage work on display at the power plant: The dressing...
by John Bentley Mays. The Globe and Mail, Oct. 27, 1990.
Hot Tramp, I Love You So!: Rebel Girls: A Survey of Canadian...
by Christine Conley. Fuse, Fall 1989, v. 13, no. 1 & 2.
Three Sisters: In Her Trilogy of Performance Works, Tanya Mars...
by Elke Town and David Hlynsky. Canadian Art, Summer 1989, v. 6, no. 2.
Towards a Representation of Human: Only Human: Sex, Gender, and...
by Erika Sunderberg. Video Guide, 1988, v. 9, no. 4.
La vidéo via l'espace féminin
by Daniel Carrière. Le Devoir, Apr. 21, 1988.
Through Her Eyes
by Leila Marshy. Cinema Canada, Sept. 1987, no. 144.
Video In Drag: Trans-sexing the Feminine
by Dot Tuer. Parallelogramme, Feb. 1987, v. 12, no. 3.
Randy & Berenicci: Tanya Mars
by Linda Genereux. Vanguard, Sept. 1987, v. 16, no. 4.
Video Theatrics
by Daina Augaitis and Helga Pakasaar. Walter Phillips Gallery Exhibition Brochure, Aug. 4, 1987. Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery, 1987.
Video Theatrics
by Daina Augaitis and Helga Pakasaar. Video Theatrics, Aug. 4 Summer, 1987.
Performing Miracles
by Linda Genereux. Canadian Art, June Summer 1987, v. 4, no. 2.
The 1986 New Work Show
by Geoffery Shea. Cinema Canada, Nov. 1986.
Elizabethan Video
by Gary Kibbins. Fuse, May 1986, v. 9, no. 6.
A Space chooses evolution over revolution: New shows a return to...
by John Bentley Mays. The Globe and Mail, Nov. 26, 1983.
Choregraphies d'Artistes
by Stephen Schofield. Vanguard, Mar. 1983, v. 12, no. 2.
Performance Artist: Endangered Species
by Tanya Mars. Parallelogramme, 1978, v. 12, no. 2.