Past Exhibitions

Dialog Human: Works by Priscilla Steele and Thomas C. Jackson

November 19, 2016 - February 5, 2017

Dialog Human

Priscilla Steele and Thomas C. Jackson have been drawing the human form since the late 1960s. In 2008, Jackson joined Steele’s life drawing group, meeting 3-4 hours twice every week. From these prolific sessions ensued a constant stream of vast bodies of work from each artist that are united in their source but disparate in their execution and sensibilities. Drawing is the most fundamental skill of an artist’s training. Since classical Greece and the Italian Renaissance, the human body has been held as the artistic ideal, elevating life drawing to the gold standard of artistic training. Through the works of Steele and Jackson, Dialog Human explores life drawing as an intersection and a common thread sustaining an infinite dialog.

Priscilla Steele was raised in New Jersey. She received her B.A. from St Lawrence University in Canton, New York and M.A. and M.F.A. in Printmaking from the University of Iowa. She also studied at the Art Students League in New York City, the Kansas City Art Institute, and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Steele is a vital member of the art community in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area, serving on numerous committees and teaching art at Coe College for 18 years. Since 1991, she and her husband have owned and operated the renowned Campbell Steele Gallery in Marion, Iowa where she also maintains an active studio practice. Steele has exhibited in Dubuque at the 2012 Voices from the Warehouse District and Gallery C in 2014.

Thomas C. Jackson was born in Rock Island, Illinois. He received his B.A. from Western Illinois University and M.F.A. from the University of Notre Dame. Jackson taught art at Mount Mercy University before pursuing a distinguished career in advertising and marketing. Since retiring in 2000 from Stamats, Inc. in Cedar Rapids, he has achieved a second successful career as an artist. Jackson had a solo exhibition at the Dubuque Museum of Art in 2008 and was part of the 2015 DUMA Biennial and the exhibition New Expressionists in 2002. He lives with his wife in Cedar Rapids.

Images: TOP: Priscilla Steele, Joy, 2011, mixed media collage on paper, 12 ½ x 19 ¾ inches, collection of the artist, ©Priscilla Steele. BOTTOM: Thomas C. Jackson, Blossom, 2013, ink and watercolor on paper, 22 x 30 inches, collection of the artist, ©Thomas C. Jackson.

Transmographic Arrangements: Paintings by Zane York

November 18, 2016 - February 5, 2017

Transmographic Arrangements

With an entomological fascination, Brooklyn-based painter, Zane York, creates magical floral still-lifes that are not actual flowers but insects convincingly arranged in lush, kaleidoscope bouquets.

York is influenced by the long history of the Dutch floral still-life paintings of Jan Brueghel the ElderJan Davidsz de HeemBalthasar van der Ast, and Rachel Ruysch, as well as masters of the strange and unorthodox like Pieter Bruegel the ElderHieronymus BoschMatthias GrünewaldCaravaggio, and Giuseppe Arcimboldi.

According to York, “I work to reinterpret the floral theme using non-traditional means; most obviously with insects as flowers, but also through canvas shape, lighting, evocation of movement, transparency, impermanence of forms, and ultimately taking liberty with reality through realistic painting. In many different ways, the paintings transform the traditional floral still life into something slightly bizarre and unexpected, encouraging a reexamination of life and death, the fluidity of what we know, and how we define beauty.”

York was born in Fremont, Nebraska in 1978 and grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. He received his B.F.A. in drawing, painting, and sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and received an M.F.A. from the New York Academy of Art. He has shown at Causey Contemporary in Brooklyn as well as Ripon College in Wisconsin, Austin Artworks Center in Minnesota, Eden Rock Gallery in St. Barth’s, The Fontbonne University Gallery in St. Louis, Studio 7 Gallery in New Jersey, and The New York Academy of Art, with an upcoming exhibition at the Arsenal Gallery in New York City’s Central Park. His work has earned numerous awards, from institutions such as the Posey Foundation, the Milton J. Memorial, and The Prince of Wales Scholarship.

Image: Zane York, Arrangement II, 2016, Oil on canvas mounted to Dibond board, 16×12 inches, collection of the artist. ©Zane York

Alfred Caldwell: Eagle Point Park drawings and blueprints

November 1, 2016 - February 5, 2017

Alfred Caldwell: Eagle Point Park drawings and blueprints

Alfred Caldwell (American, Missouri 1903 – Wisconsin 1998) represents a unique window to early 20th century principles and ideas about the land, ecology, conservation, public parks, architecture, and city and regional planning. These developments were centered in the Midwest, and for Caldwell, his direct associations with two revolutionary architects, Jens Jensen and Frank Lloyd Wright, greatly contributed to the broad interdisciplinary foundation of his extraordinary work in Dubuque.

The city of Dubuque can claim an important Works Progress Administration legacy through the outstanding contribution of Caldwell, a Chicago landscape designer who was appointed Superintendent of Parks in Dubuque in March 1934 through WPA funding, part of the Roosevelt administration’s New Deal Act. The 164 acre Eagle Point Park stretches along the bluffs north of Dubuque above the Mississippi River and holds most of this built legacy:  a stone building group is the established anchor and includes the Stone Shelter House, Reservoirs, Bridge Promenade with Lookout Tower, Concession Stand/Kitchen/Dining Room, and the Pump House/Tool Building.

The six original drawings and blueprints in this exhibition, the first showing from the remarkable collection of 189 works gifted to the Dubuque Museum of Art in part by the Butler Family Foundation and in memory of Alfred and Geda Caldwell, illustrate the overall park plan and several individual building plans as envisioned by Caldwell. Also on view is Caldwell’s model of the Pump House/Tool Building on loan from the City of Dubuque.

Mauricio Lasansky: Prints From the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Harold E. Rayburn

November 1, 2016 - April 30, 2017

Mauricio Lasansky: Prints From the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Harold E. Rayburn

A native of Argentina, Mauricio Lasansky received a Guggenheim Fellowship at the age of 22 and used it to study prints within the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. A naturalized American citizen by 1952, he worked on his own prints at the famous Atelier 17 in New York City that had adopted Abstract Expressionism as its means of stylistic expression.

Lasansky was invited to establish a print workshop at the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History in 1945. He built a legacy at Iowa that served as a model for other universities in establishing their printmaking departments and in fact many of those departments were developed by Lasansky’s students and continue to be headed by later generations of his students. In addition to teaching, many students became successful professional artists. Janet Ruttenberg, Dubuque native and one of Lasansky’s first students accepted into his program at Iowa, continues to maintain an active studio in New York City. One of Ruttenberg’s early works, on loan following her recent exhibition at the Dubuque Museum of Art, is presented here alongside her instructor’s work.

Lasansky is best known for his complex, large-scale prints on which he applied a variety of printing techniques, using multiple plates and experimenting with an array of colors. Awarded five Guggenheim Fellowships over his lifetime, as well as numerous honorary degrees and exhibition awards, Lasansky devoted his career to exploring the expressive possibilities of printmaking and contributing significantly to establishing it as a meaningful and critical art form for the 20th century.

Lasansky retired from the University of Iowa in 1985. He continued to live in Iowa City with his wife Emilia until her death in 2009, and maintained his studio there until his death in 2012. The Lasansky artistic legacy continues today through his students as well as through his children and grandchildren, many of whom have prominent careers in the arts.

The six works by Mauricio Lasansky in this exhibition were donated in 2015 to DUMA from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Harold E. Rayburn. Mr. Rayburn is a retired Eastern Iowa business executive and art collector with a particular interest in Iowa printmakers. Significant donations from visionary collectors like Mr. Rayburn and Dr. Randall Lengeling are the backbone of building a strong collection for the Museum to preserve and exhibit today and for future generations. We are grateful to all of our donors for entrusting part of their collecting legacy to DUMA.

Image: Mauricio Lasansky (Argentina, 1914-2012), Lincoln, WS, 1985, Etching, drypoint, soft ground, scraping and burnishing, chine-collé, and relief on paper, 45 ½ x 28 inches, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harold E. Rayburn, 2015.18, ©Lasansky Corp.

Ron Testa and Peter robert Thompson: On the Street, Off the Road

August 19, 2016 - November 6, 2016

On the Street, Off the Road

Going where the road takes them and recording what they see on their journey with a sense of wonder and curiosity – for these two artists the journey of discovery is more important than the destination. This unique look at the world from their individual perspectives is an inspiring journey presenting 36 works from over four decades worth of travel and explorations from behind the camera.

Ron Testa is a photographer from Wilmette, Illinois. Working in both black and white and color, Testa combines a sense of compassion with the keen eye of street photographers like Lee Friedlander and Gary Winogrand. He has been making photographs since 1962 receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He served three tours of duty in Vietnam as a combat photographer stationed on an attack aircraft carrier in the Tonkin Gulf. In 1973 he received a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Photography from the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York. Later, as Head Photographer for the Field Museum, he taught photography at Columbia College in Chicago and was a consultant at the Chicago House archeological dig in Luxor, Egypt. He recently retired from a career as a crime scene photographer.

Peter robert Thompson is a photographer and instructor from Mineral Point, Wisconsin whose photographs of the western United States celebrate the poetry and simplicity of the vast, stark landscapes he explores in his travels. Thompson studied with Al Weber, Oliver Gagliani, Richard Burton, Walter Chappell, and Ansel Adams. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and as the artist in residence at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. His images are part of the permanent collection of the Polaroid Corporation and the George Eastman House. Thompson has led workshops in the West and Southwest United States and regularly teaches photography workshops at colleges and art centers throughout this region.

Ellen Wagener, Four Seasons (Spring), 2015, Pastel on paper, 60 x 40 inches each, Collection of the artist

Ellen Wagener: No Ordinary Moments

August 13, 2016 - November 6, 2016

Ellen Wagener: No Ordinary Moments

Ellen Wagener has resided in Arizona for over 15 years but has always retained a fascination with her native Iowa landscape. As Wagener explains, “everyone thinks of Iowa and most of the Midwest as ‘fly-over states’ that change very little and look relatively the same, constantly. I see it quite differently.” To capture the landscape that she knows, Wagener draws inspiration from a variety of artists including Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keefe, Grant Wood, and John Bloom; authors Hermann Hesse and F. Scott Fitzgerald; and statesman and “Father of the Green Revolution” Henry A. Wallace. Returning repeatedly to the same locations over long periods, she records daily and seasonal changes of light, color, and texture. From her repeated visits and observations Wagener has created monumental groupings of pastel paintings in multiple series depicting rivers, sunsets, cultivated fields, and spectacular weather events that comprise the 45 works presented in this exhibition including her newest series of prairie fires.

Wagener attended Marycrest University in Davenport, Iowa and the University of Iowa before receiving her B.F.A. in 1989 from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. Her work has been recognized and exhibited nationally and is in numerous private and public collections including the Dubuque Museum of Art, the Tucson Museum of Art, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa State University, the University of Iowa Museum of Art, the Figge Art Museum, and the U.S. 9th District Federal Courthouse in Cedar Rapids.

Ellen Wagener Gallery Talk
Twelve Sunsets in the Life of Henry A. Wallace & Twisted Sisters
Prairie Fires and Other Personal Dilemmas
Waiting for the Pink Floyd Moment
Endless River
Tangled Oaks

Dubuque Camera Club: Dubuque Architecture from a New Perspective

August 5, 2016 - September 25, 2016

Dubuque Architecture from a New Perspective

The Dubuque Museum of Art is proud to host the 4th annual exhibition of photographs by members of the Dubuque Camera Club. The theme of this year’s exhibition of 16 photographs focuses on Dubuque’s iconic architecture, in all of its iterations and stages whether historic, modern, new, old, neglected, or restored. The challenge for club members was to bring a fresh awareness and appreciation to a well-documented subject.

DUMA is excited to continue its partnership with this local group dedicated to promoting a greater appreciation for the art and skill of photography. Those who work in creative fields often work in isolation out of necessity and preference but when they have the occasion to participate in a group, or collaborate with another artist, the exposure can bring new ideas and directions to their work. In a group like the Dubuque Camera Club where any skill level is welcome and the medium of photography is widely accessible, the motivated beginner can get started quickly and find an invaluable source of knowledge and support.

About the Dubuque Camera Club

The Dubuque Camera Club has been in existence since the early 1940s with its start at the Dubuque YMCA. The current club has over 30 members and is part of the N4C which is an organization of 42 camera clubs in 11 North Central states. N4C organizes contests where images are submitted and judged by members from other clubs with winners receiving awards. Photo enthusiasts of all skill levels are encouraged to join and learn more about photography, become a qualifying member of N4C, and be eligible to participate in contests and activities. More information about the Dubuque Camera Club can be found online at

The Arthur Geisert Collection: The Etching Process

August 5, 2016 - August 31, 2017

The Arthur Geisert Collection

Undoubtedly the largest collection at the Dubuque Museum of Art is the work of etcher and illustrator, Arthur Geisert with well over 2000 works and growing. From concept drawings and etched copper plates to original hand-colored etchings and published books, the artist’s entire process from start to finish is well represented in the collection and always on view!

Image: Arthur Geisert (America, b. 1941), The Etcher’s Studio (detail), pp. 10-11, A.P., 1996, hand-colored copper plate etching on BFK Rives paper, 7 ¾ x 11 ⅛ in., The Arthur Geisert Collection. Gift of Arthur Geisert and Bonnie Geisert, made possible by Jack & Mantea Schmid., 03.01.33
Debra Joy Groesser, The Power and the Glory II, 2014, oil, 24x30 in., collection of the artist.

Mississippi River Art Workshops Instructor Exhibition

June 3, 2016 - June 24, 2016

Mississippi River Art Workshops Instructor Exhibition

For the second year in a row, the Dubuque Museum of Art is pleased to partner with Mississippi River Art Workshops, an affiliate of Dubuque County Fine Arts Society, in presenting an exhibition of work by the instructor of this year’s plein air workshop, Debra Joy Groesser, AIS, PAAC, APA.

VA de Pintor, Lock Down

Urbanism: Mixed Media Works by VA de Pintor

May 20, 2016 - August 7, 2016

Urbanism: Mixed Media Works by VA de Pintor

Chicago artist VA de Pintor finds endless inspiration living in a major US metropolitan area. For her exhibition, Urbanism. De Pintor collected found and discarded objects and assembled them into collages to tell her story of life in the city.

Sara Lubinski, Stone Passage, 2015, oil on linen, 20x30 in., collection of the artist

River Sojourn and Soundscapes

May 6, 2016 - July 31, 2016

River Sojourn and Soundscapes

This dual exhibition presents the work of four contemporary artists, each using different media to observe and document the natural world, and explores the evolving relationship among the arts, humanities and sciences.

River Sojourn is a series of paintings created by American landscape painter, Sara Lubinski. A trained botanist, Lubinski’s science career included time spent learning about the ecology of the Mississippi River and many of our national parks. The beauty of these landscapes catalyzed her transition back to the easel, where she creates paintings that are deeply expressive of the natural environment.

Soundscapes explores how media and technology influences and mediates our experience of natural world. The exhibition includes works by three artists creating at the intersection of art, technology, and nature.

Shawn Decker’s electro-acoustic sound installation Prairie recalls the sights and sounds of the native prairie. Comprised of a field of 144 speakers atop thin, metal rods, each programmed to operate in randomized patterns of sound and movement, Prairie offers an immersive listening experience. Shawn Decker is a a composer, artist and a senior faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Brendan Baylor’s digital sound book, Iowa River Ideology/Function, utilizes sound recordings of natural and industrial systems taken by the artist along the Iowa River. The format creates an interactive experience in which manipulation of the pages change the sound. Baylor currently holds the Hulings Teaching Fellowship in Drawing and Printmaking at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Claudia Esslinger’s La Medida (the measurement) is a video installation examining the role of measuring systems in our understanding of the natural world. In Act 5: Proportion, the artist/scientist moves through a primordial world, accompanied by actual sounds recorded in the Omora Preserve of Japan and composed by collaborator Eric des Four. Esslinger works in media-based installation, video projection and collaborative performance and is professor of art at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

Dubuque Citywide High School Exhibition

April 1, 2016 - April 17, 2016

Experimental Strata: A Search for Meaning, Mixed Media Paintings by Wendy Romero

February 19, 2016 - May 8, 2016

Experimental Strata: A Search for Meaning, Mixed Media Paintings by Wendy Romero

Wendy Romero (America, b. 1975), Professor of Art at Loras College, works in a limited, mute palate to create textural cross-sections of earth and sky. Her somber, quiet images have evolved with the addition of metallic paints and pops of accent colors – enlivening her typically somber surfaces with an ethereal glow. Romero was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She studied art at the Savannah College of Art and Design and Georgia Southern University. She has been with the Art Department at Loras since 2004.

Image: Auric Glow, 2016, collection of the artist