Emotionscapes: Paintings by Joyce Polance

Joyce Polance was a Chicago-based painter for over 26 years before a move in December 2020, accelerated by COVID-19, took her away from the Midwest and back to her home state of New York. In this series of 14 oil paintings made since 2015, the artist expresses deeply felt, dark emotions through the visual forms of landscapes and cityscapes.

Her expressionistic paintings meld realism with abstraction, and focus on movement, energy, and emotion. Natural and urban landscapes take on human characteristics that reflect our uncertain times. As the artist explains, “In our current political climate of amplified voices and vehement certainties of belief, I explore what happens when things aren’t so definite. My paintings blur the definitions of figures and landscapes. Trees, water, and mountains scream, dissolving into creatures, churning with inner turmoil and expression.”

Polance was born in New York City in 1965. She attended Wesleyan University and received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has exhibited internationally and has work in many private and corporate collections.

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Image credit:
Joyce Polance, Dream City, 2020, oil on canvas,24 x 36in., collection of the artist

2021 DuMA Biennial

Founded in 2003 and presented every two years, the DuMA Biennial is a competitive, juried exhibition that recognizes and honors the artistic talent in our region.

Preparations for the 2021 DuMA Biennial began in December 2020 when the call for entries opened to emerging and established artists residing within a 200 mile-radius of Dubuque. Following the jurying process, the selected artists were announced on May 6th and the exhibition opens June 26th. The DuMA Biennial features new work created during a momentous year. It presents a compelling survey of the period and provide a sense of where artists have found the inspiration to continue to create.

This summer promises greater opportunity for visitors to come to the museum to once again experience first-hand works on exhibit.

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Image Credit:
Stina Henslee, For Fanny Cassidy, 2021,
Ink, watercolor, spray paint, acrylic, and collage on illustration board, 30×40 in.,
Collection of the artist

I Am A Man

The Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA) in partnership with Voices Productions and with additional support by Trappist Caskets and Humanities Iowa, is hosting a temporary exhibition of Dana Harrison’s I Am A Man mural at the corner of Bluff Street and 8th Street in downtown Dubuque.

The mural is located on a portion of the west side of a building that is planned for eventual deconstruction.

Mr. Harrison is an Iowa native who discovered a passion for letters and characters in the mid 1990s. He studied under Dasc of the mwck’z (Midwest can controllerz) and the late Sazko of the Belgium bombers, and is a member of the Scarce Elements Crew. Fellow Iowa graffiti writer Asphate will work with Harrison on this mural.

The mural is inspired by a photograph taken on April 8, 1968 by photojournalist Bob Adelman at the memorial march in Memphis, Tennessee for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who had been assassinated just days before. Dr. King was planning to lead the I Am a Man march in Memphis supporting a sanitation workers strike that had begun in February. The workers were striking over their dangerous, low-paying working conditions as well as the racial violence of the era. The man in the image is carrying one of the hundreds of I AM A MAN signs made for the march. Instead of a march led by Dr. King, the man carries it in mourning for Dr. King’s murder.

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Photo credit: Bob Adelman

K-12 2021

The much anticipated K-12 exhibition of artwork from students in the Dubuque Community and Holy Family schools occurs each spring. Biennially, the Museum hosts an exhibition of work by City high school students. Because of the pandemic, the Museum chose to combine these exhibitions and present them in a virtual format. The Dubuque Area K-12 Virtual Exhibition was open to all students and features 150 works in a variety of mediums.

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Tim Olson 2021

Dubuque artist Tim Olson finds inspiration in the people and places around him and uses that inspiration to re-imagine historic paintings in his latest series. Olson creates a direct dialogue between Midwestern life and masterpieces from the Renaissance to the 19th century. The exhibition features twelve new oil on panel paintings.

Image credit: Tim Olson, Self Portrait with a Temperature of 97.1, 2020, oil on panel, 25 x19 inches

2100 and Counting

This exhibition is a major retrospective of the growth of the museum’s collection over the last two decades. Many works are on view in the museum for the first time. Included in the exhibition are key acquisitions by local, regional, and international artists like Thomas Hart Benton, Salvador Dali, J.J. Kavanaugh, Mark Chamberlain, Elizabeth Eagle, Rose Frantzen, Arthur Geisert, Ernest Garthwaite, Criss Glasell, the Lasansky family, Stanislas Lepine, Francesco Licciardi, Jessica Teckemeyer, Ellen Wagener, Joseph Walter, Marcia Wegman, Grant Wood, and Zane York.

image credit: Sr. Helen Kerrigan, BVM, Self-Portrait, 1974, oil on canvas, 61 1/4 x 48 1/4 inches, Gift of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2020.14

Janet Checker

Galena artist Janet Checker presents a selection of five paintings from her series Women of the Americas. These five works represent the range of her series celebrating the traditional dress of the women of North, Central, and South America.

Image credit: Hopi from the Women of the America Series, ca. 2000-2010, oil on canvas, 48x24 in., collection of the artist


Portraits of the Pandemic is an exhibition of self-portraits made during the pandemic by artists in Dubuque and surrounding counties in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. As the nation went into quarantine in March 2020, life for many in the Tri-State area was abruptly reduced to their immediate surroundings. Business closures and the sudden shift to more people being home day and night affected us all in varying ways. During this protracted period of uncertainty, isolation, and controversy around the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many must look inward for ways to stave off boredom, depression, frustration, or fear, DuMA called on our local artists to submit a work that represented their personal experience. Through the works in the exhibition and the artists’ personal reflections, we can address and gain a deeper understanding of our own experiences and thoughts of the time.

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Nichole Gronvold Roller

Midwestern landscape and architecture are not unfamiliar themes for visitors to DuMA. The uniqueness of our natural and man-made scenery inspires many artists. Illinois artist Nichole Gronvold Roller is no exception, though her irregular polygonal canvases and abstract kaleidoscope imagery might deceive the casual viewer. This selection of twelve new paintings conceal the familiar Midwest themes that inspired them and encourage a closer examination. Those who stop for a longer look will find that the artist has made a deep and considered examination of our region.

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2020 Craft

DuMA presents a new exhibition highlighting fine craft, with an emphasis on traditional materials handled in unexpected and innovative ways. Over 70 handcrafted works by a select group of regionally-based craftspeople working in ceramic, glass, wood, paper, and metal will be featured. The 2nd Craft Invitational would not be possible without the curatorial team of Delores Fortuna, Maureen Bardusk, Paul Opperman, and Carole Speliç.

The exhibition will run through October 10, 2020.

Following the first invitational in 2018, this encore exhibition continues to recognize the many talented craft artists in our region – more than we could bring to a single exhibition. The 2020 Craft Invitational builds upon the first exhibition, presenting a new group of exceptional regional artists.

They include: Ali Kauss, Amy Arnold and Kelsey Sauber Olds, Andrew Shea, Cory McCrory, Darlys Ewoldt, Don Friedlich, Ernest Miller, Gordon Browning, James Pearce, John Martinson, Judith Kinghorn, Julie McLaughlin, Kevin Kowaleski and Justin Mosling, Kristin Garnant and v.skip willits, Linda Kelen, Melissa Jay Craig, Mitchell Spain, Rich Robertson, and Rick Hintze.

CLICK HERE to view our virtual guide to the exhibition, featuring artist bios, process videos, and more!

Image credit:
Amy Arnold and Kelsey Sauber Olds, Hand Bloom, 2017, carved Basswood with layered and sanded milk paint, 38x26x6 in., collection of the artist