Personalized Portraits: Paul Chase and Vincent Williams

October 4 - 28, 2021. Personalized Portraits: Paul Chase and Vincent Williams

Gallery Director Essay

I've always wanted to do this - have a show in which faces (black and white and in color) starred out at the viewer. You wouldn't neessarily have to go into the Gallery, given our wonderful windowed structure, because the faces would stare out at you. So this is about as close as it comes.

If you live in Dubuque or the tri-state region, if you love art or theatre or music or went to high school in the area - you already know these two artists. Take a moment and read their statements and you'll see why. You might have taken a course or ten from Paul Chase and Vincent Williams. And it might not have been in 'art'; it could have been in theatre or music.

The Bisignano Art Gallery is pleased to show the work by these two accomplished artists and, generally speaking, renaissnce men. As they have worked they have continued to move in new directions and it is humbling to see the quality, energy - and especially passion - each has brought to our Gallery.

Why are portraits still of interest, you might ask. After all, since the 1860s if you wanted a likeness of someone, there was a photograph (of various quality of course). And now, of course, there is the ubiquotise selfie as portrait. Why? Precisely because what the artist can do, but is often not done in photography, is layer shades of emotion and meaning onto a face. Paul Chase's images are huge; they're giants in color. Vince Williams' respectful portraits are by contrast almost dainty, accessible black and white images. And the sensuality of Chase's marble work...don't even get me started.

Special acknowledgement goes to Noah Bullock, Assistant Director of the Gallery, who planned out the show and hung it. It's interesting to see the faces talk to each other. Finally, we encourage visitors to take the brochure we produced.

I wonder what work these artists will be producing when I check in on them in a decade or two.

Alan Garfield
Director, Bisignano Art Gallery

Personalized Portraits Poster

Personalized Portraits: Paul Chase and Vincent Williams

Paul Chase

Artist's Statement

My art has evolved, taken journeys through times, places, visions and passions. While teaching art for some 30 years I have experimented a vast variety of materials and techniques, some of which I have embraced and followed aggressively with much joy and pleasure.

The inspiration for "Portrait Visions" came from a single self-portrait I did as part of a solo show. The power of the larger than life canvas became the focus of this series. A wide variety of materials and artistic techniques have been used to portray fellow artists and those artists who have influenced my life and creative endeavors. Each portrait is personal. Each portrait gives a "glimpse" of who the person is.

The "Graphic Dimensions" series evolved when organic materials began calling to me a few years ago. Wrestling with three dimensions to create dynamic visual compositions became a passion. Working with metal, glass, concrete, wood and stone I have assembled a collection of sculptures ranging from a size of 1 O" to 1 O'. The artist within me has found satisfaction moving from one dimension through two-dimensional into the vast environment of three dimensions. Carving stone has risen to the top of my interest and focus, specifically marble. I am drawn to the energy and mystique of classic marble sculptures. With excitement and adventure I touch, feel, smell each piece of stone following the message, design and direction that they give as I work. I gain satisfaction and learning from each carving success, and sometimes the failures, as the stone directs.

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Vincent Williams

Artist's Statement

My artistic resume is broad, "POLYMATH" might be descrip­tive. It encompasses many art forms: music, acting in theater, directing of plays, writing of plays, technical theater, published poetry and short story, and teaching (also an art form).

Professionally, I've been a graphic artist, a medical illustrator and a technical illustrator for the MFA Insurance Company, Honeywell, the University of Missouri Hospitals and Clinics, MercyOne Hospital, and a host of private commissioned drawings. Other parts of my artistic performance include (among other arts such as poetry and short story writing), singing and touring with the Dubuque Chorale in England, Wales, Norway, Germany, Austria, Italy, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and The Vatican.

In theater, my arts experience encompasses acting and directing in/for many stage plays, acting in film and television docudrama; 14 years of performance for the Dubuque County Historical Society and acting my own scripts in 1560 performances; and 33 years teaching Speech and Theater as Director ofTheater on both the college and high school (Hempstead H. S.) levels. So, I approach the definition of "art" from a very wide spectrum.

What is art? For me, art is the selective demonstration or rendition of expression(s) to arrive at a special "truth" that has the power to communicate. If that means a portrait or visual (drawing) that is clearly and instantly recognizable, or a facial (or vocal or physical or verbal) expression that shows a fundamental verity of meaning and intention allowing for cognizant perception - often on more than one level, I un­derstand that as art. Cave drawings, as well as the wildness of abstract rendition and design qualify equally as art when they communicate. You see, I don't worry about "style''.

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