With the opening of the University of Dubuque's new Heritage Center comes the campus' first dedicated gallery space, the Charles and Elizabeth Bisignano Art Gallery. The gallery's inaugural exhibit, opening April 15, 2013, will feature Mauricio Lasansky's Great Thinker Series.
Mauricio Lasansky, Iowa's most famous printmaker, served as master of intaglio printmaking at the University of Iowa art department for almost 50 years. He began his printmaking legacy at the University in 1945, and is frequently dubbed the father of 20th century printmaking not only because of his prolific output, but because of the literally hundreds of his students who later became professional artists and teachers.
The Great Thinkers series, completed between 1981 and 1988, consists of 11 portraits of historical figures who have influenced the life or thought of the artist. These large-scale intaglio prints are on loan from the Linda Bisignano collection for the length of the show. Each piece is a combination of intaglio techniques - etching, drypoint, soft ground, scraping, and burnishing. The names in this series will be immediately recognizable to most, since those are the thinkers that continue to influence ideas and society today. Included in the series are portraits of Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln, Madame Curie, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, and others. But these are not typical portraits. According to Alan Garfield, gallery director, "These portraits serve a double function. On the one hand, they clearly satisfy the requirement of resembling the sitter named. But on the other, they all have an uncanny resemblance to the artist, Lasansky, himself. Are these portraits of the Great Thinkers or self portraits of Lasansky?"
"An active, modern gallery is a dream realized for the University of Dubuque," said Garfield. "Our goal is to involve our students, faculty, staff, and the greater community in a wide range of art events throughout the year."
The Charles and Elizabeth Bisignano Art Gallery will serve University of Dubuque students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community by bringing diverse exhibitions to the campus. The stylishly minimalist gallery will exhibit works on paper, paintings, fine art photography, and sculpture. Gallery hours are 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and also in conjunction with major events scheduled in John and Alice Butler Hall. The Lasansky exhibit will continue through July 31. A grand opening gallery reception will be announced at a later date.