Past Exhibitions

Totalitarianism Seen Through Metaphors: Paintings by Ioana Mamali

November 19, 2019 - January 5, 2020

Ioana Mamali

Totalitarianism Seen Through Metaphors: Paintings by Ioana Mamali features seven new works in oil that explore the artist’s experience growing up under Communism. Mamali describes her Surrealistic paintings as “metaphorical representations of past and present existence.” She has a strong desire to express, through metaphorical narratives, the open wounds of Communism, and attempts to show the distortions nested in people’s minds. According to the artist, the purpose of her art is to “awaken the curiosity to understand the truth, so much needed for our survival.”

Ioana Mamali (b. 1945) has a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Bucharest-Romania. She has lived in the United States since 1990, when she and her husband left Romania for Iowa City, Iowa. Mamali relocated to Dubuque, Iowa a number of years later to accept a position with an architectural firm. Her work has been exhibited locally as part of the Art@Your Library series at Carnegie-Stout Public Library and in juried exhibitions sponsored by the Wisconsin Watercolor Society and the Dubuque Museum of Art. Mamali’s works are included in private collections in Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, Romania, and the U.S.

Image credit: The Broken Bridge, 2018, oil on canvas, 24×30, courtesy of the artist
Woody Nightshade

The Poison Garden: Photographs by Molly Wood

November 2, 2019 - January 12, 2020

The Poison Garden

Written on the iron gates leading into the Poison Garden at Alnwick (pronounced “ANN-ick”) Castle in northern England are the words, “These Plants Can Kill.” This is the warning Des Moines photographer Molly Wood saw as she arrived there to photograph some of the world’s most famous poisonous plants for her Fatal Floras series. Equally fascinating for their danger and symbolism, sixteen of these horticultural hazards, in various stages of their life cycle, are featured in the exhibition, The Poison Garden: Photographs by Molly Wood.

Molly Wood was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. She received her Master of Arts in Art History in 1992 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and her Bachelor of Arts in Photojournalism in 1987 from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Wood was an Iowa Arts Council Fellow in 2018. Her work was included in the 2017 DUMA Biennial. In addition to making her photographs, Wood currently produces photo shoots for Meredith Brand Licensing in Des Moines and is an adjunct professor at Des Moines Area Community College.

Image Credit: Molly Wood, Solanum dulcamara (woody nightshade), 2016, archival pigment print on paper, 30×30, Courtesy of the artist

Arthur Geisert: Tall and Not-So-Tall Tales

September 21, 2019 - January 5, 2020

Arthur Geisert

The Dubuque Museum of Art is pleased to present an exhibition highlighting the boundless imagination and humor of children’s book author and artist Arthur Geisert.

Original illustrations are presented from Geisert’s latest book, Pumpkin Island, along with his 2013 book Thunderstorm, both published by Enchanted Lion Books. This exhibition brings the wondrous worlds of Geisert’s books to life with larger-than-life-size reproductions throughout the gallery, more than 60 hand-colored etchings (including one that is over 30 feet long), preparatory drawings, and copper plates. The exhibition is complimented by a video and hands-on activities for children and families.

Arthur Geisert is the author of more than two dozen books, three of which have been awarded The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award. Born in Texas and raised in Los Angeles, Geisert relocated to Bernard, Iowa in 2007 and today makes his home and studio in Elkader, Iowa.

Image credit: Arthur Geisert, Pumpkin Island (detail), 2018, hand-colored, copper plate etching on paper, courtesy of Jack and Mantea Schmid Family.

Reflections: Photography by the Dubuque Camera Club

September 21, 2019 - November 10, 2019


The Dubuque Camera Club explores the theme of “reflection” in this 7th annual exhibition of photographs by club members. Reflection can be interpreted in different ways, from a mirror surface to thoughtful contemplation. To capture the beauty of reflection in photography involves patience, luck, and planning. When reflection is desired and successfully captured, it can elevate an ordinary scene into something exceptional and artistic. Conversely, when a reflection is unwanted, it can be the bane of the photographer.

Assembled from over 70 submitted images, DUMA Curator and Registrar Stacy Peterson selected a group of photographs that represents not only the different interpretations on the theme but also the skill levels of the club members.
This annual exhibition celebrates the Dubuque Camera Club, where a group of individuals that have a similar creative interest gather to practice, learn, and have fun. In this way, the club offers a valuable experience to all of its members, whether seasoned professional or casual hobbyist.

Alec Egan, Living Room, 2019, oil and flashe acrylic on canvas, 96x72 inches, collection of Tim Walsh and Mike Healy

Alec Egan: The Living Room
Kris Mozena McNamer Gallery

August 10, 2019 - October 20, 2019

Alec Egan

California-based artist Alec Egan explores nostalgia and memory in his latest series of contemporary oil paintings. Motifs including books, flowers, architectural elements, and wallpaper designs—similar to those found in his grandparent’s home—repeat throughout the group of paintings in this exhibition, which combines a grand, central painting with six detail compositions.

By repeating and layering similar elements across the body of work, Egan’s series achieves a rhythmic connection while also calling to mind the uncertainty and evolution of childhood memories, where a familiar place or object may be remembered in several ways. Discovering the relationships between the central painting and the other paintings in the series is a highlight of experiencing the exhibition in person.

Born in Los Angeles, in 1984, Alec Egan received his B.A. in 2007 from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and his M.F.A. in 2013 from Otis College of Art and Design in L.A. Egan completed a Millwork Residency in Dubuque in 2015. He has shown in group and solo shows in L.A., New York, Portland, and Amsterdam. His work is represented in L.A. by Anat Egbi Gallery.

image credit: Alec Egan, Living Room, 2019, oil and flashe acrylic on canvas, 96×72 inches, collection of Tim Walsh and Mike Healy

DuMA Biennial 2019
Organized by the Dubuque Museum of Art

May 18, 2019 - September 8, 2019

2019 DUMA Biennial

Founded in 2003, the DUMA Biennial is recognized as a premier juried exhibition opportunity in the heart of the Midwest. The exhibition brings together works by emerging and established artists who are actively producing and presenting new work.

This year’s Biennial offers a fresh survey of 60 new works created by 39 regional contemporary artists. Works in a range of media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and fabric, are on view along with multi-media installations.

A very special thank you to the 2019 DUMA Biennial juror Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Ms. Humphreville has assembled a unified and compelling selection of works that represent current movements in the art of this region but also embody universal and timely themes that reach well beyond our geographic boundaries.

For more information and for a list of featured artists, click here.

Sarah Humphreville, 2019 DuMA Biennial guest juror
Thomas Paquette, Cross Traffic, 2017, oil on linen, 30 x 34, courtesy of artist

America’s River Re-Explored, Paintings of the Mississippi from Source to Gulf by Thomas Paquette

April 27, 2019 - July 28, 2019

America’s River Re-Explored

Contemporary landscape painter, Thomas Paquette, explores and paints scenes from the entire length of the Mississippi River, starting at its northern Minnesota source to its outflow at the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting collection of paintings provides a contemporary visual travelogue of this important river. Twenty-two of the paintings are presented here.

Originally planned as a way to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial in 2016, the project was going to be a series of paintings from the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, the Park Service’s seventy-two-mile corridor of river that runs through Minneapolis and St Paul, but a growing obsession with the river kept Paquette going and an additional two thousand miles of Mississippi made its way across his canvases.

Thomas Paquette has lived in five places along the upper Mississippi River. Born in Minneapolis in 1958, Paquette spent his youth living a mile from the mighty river. He later lived in Bemidji, Red Wing, and Winona in Minnesota, and Edwardsville in Illinois. Even now, the great reach of the river’s drainage touches the land where he lives, near the start of its easternmost tributary, the Allegheny River. For this project, Paquette took several extended trips in different seasons with the aim of seeing and apprehending as much as possible about the Mississippi.

He graduated from Bemidji State University with a B.F.A. degree in painting in 1985, and has painted full-time since 1988, when he earned his M.F.A. degree in painting on full fellowship from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Paquette’s landscape paintings have been exhibited across the United States, and were featured in more than fifty solo exhibitions at prominent art galleries in Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington D.C. Solo museum exhibitions of his work were mounted at Erie Art Museum, Evansville Museum of Art and Science, Georgia Museum of Art, Quick Center for the Arts, The Rockwell Museum, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, and Wildling Art Museum.

Commissions include major paintings created for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and the States of Minnesota, Montana, and Maine. He is the recipient of awards and honors including visiting artist residencies at the American Academy in Rome, the Aegean Arts and Cultural Exchange (Greece), three U.S. national parks (Acadia, Yosemite, and Rocky Mountain), Blue Mountain Center, and Miami on a three-year residency-fellowship at the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. His paintings are in numerous public, corporate, and private collections, and he has lectured abroad at universities in England, Wales, and Greece.

Reception, Friday, June 7, 5-8 p.m.

Gallery talk: Saturday, June 8, 1-3 p.m. (Mr. Paquette’s talk will immediately follow the Biennial juror’s talk, which starts at 1 p.m.)

America’s River Re-Explored was previously exhibited at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona and the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji. The exhibition is generously sponsored in Dubuque by Cottingham & Butler.

Image credit: Thomas Paquette, Cross Traffic, 2017, oil on linen, 30 x 34, courtesy of artist

Madai Taylor: An Elegy to America in Black and White

January 25, 2019 - April 28, 2019

Madai Taylor

Fort Dodge, Iowa artist Madai Taylor presents a moving exhibition of sculptural works on paper from his series, An Elegy to America in Black and White, on view on the museum’s Amuse Bouche balcony gallery.

Layers of rich black dirt, cotton rope, and paint on roofing tar paper are the foundation materials used by Taylor to construct this stratified body of work. Using locally sourced soil and gypsum, he achieves a range of tones and textures. Although his images exist within the vocabulary of painting, the works have a strong sculptural aesthetic with visually complex surfaces and powerful symbolism. He calls his artistic process “primitive scripture.” The tactile accumulation of physical earth reveals a bold commentary on modern life built from religious faith.

Taylor felt compelled to create this series in response to the proliferation of senseless violence against young black men in recent years. He sees this as spiritual problem, as he explained, “Any Christian should see this is deeper than race — this is a spiritual issue. Because anyone that’s a Christian or promotes the love of God has to recognize regardless of race, inhumane treatment of any soul is not showing forth the love that Christ promoted.”

Taylor was born in Lake Village, Arkansas. In addition to working as a full-time artist, he is also the bishop at Agape Kingdom Dominion Ministries in Fort Dodge. He has exhibited extensively and worked in a curatorial capacity in Iowa, Idaho, Georgia, Illinois, and Arkansas.

Image credit: Madai Taylor, “The Black Holocaust,” (detail) 2016, Iowa earth on roofing paper, 48×48 in., collection of the artist

African American Art in the 20th Century from the Collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

January 19, 2019 - April 21, 2019

African American Art in the 20th Century

African American Art in the 20th Century presents a selection of 50 paintings, sculpture, and prints by thirty-six black artists who explored the African American experience from the Harlem Renaissance through the Civil Rights era and the decades beyond, which saw tremendous social and political changes. In response, these artists created an image of America that recognizes individuals and community and acknowledges the role of art in celebrating the multivalent nature of American society.

African American Art in the 20th Century is a traveling exhibition organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The C.F Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go. The William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund provided financial support. The exhibition is curated by Smithsonian American Art Chief Curator, Virginia Mecklenburg. Most of the artworks in the exhibition are drawn from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s rich collection of African American art. Three works by Elizabeth Catlett are loaned from the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art collection through the support of Legacies for Iowa: A University of Iowa Museum of Art Collections-Sharing Project, supported by the Matthew Bucksbaum Family. Support for the exhibition at the Dubuque Museum of Art is generously provided by Art Bridges.

Image credit: Sargent Johnson, Mask, ca. 1930-1935, copper on wood base, 15 ½ x 13 ½ x 6 inches, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of International Business Machines Corporation, 1966.27.4