Red blood vessel like shapes over a dark sky

All Tomorrow’s Parties: A Retrospective of Selected Works by Carol Lee Chase

West Gallery
September 9, 2023
October 22, 2023
Carol Lee Chase

September 9, 5–7pm

In celebration of her forthcoming retirement, Associate Professor Carol Lee Chase considers her 40-year painting career. While her early work is marked by representational landscapes, her compositions have grown increasingly abstracted over time, with color, light and luminosity remaining central to her paintings.

In-person Artist Talk: Wednesday, October 11, 6:30pm (Free and open to the public. For ASL interpretation and/or other accommodations, please email by October 4.) Artist Talk Recording

Artist Statement

All Tomorrow’s Parties is a retrospective of my paintings from the last forty years. This exhibition offers me an opportunity to review and reflect on this body of work.

As an artist, getting older is a gift because it provides perspective and the ability to see the threads that have held my work together throughout my career: namely color, light and luminosity. From early cityscapes and California landscapes to more recent willow tree paintings, these elements are consistent, primary forces in my paintings. More formal concerns, such as the qualities of space and depth in the painting itself, as well as simple acts of mark making, are critical to me, too. My work has evolved to the space between abstraction and realism; I prefer to blend these approaches because I can reduce the structure of narration, and bring the viewer back to the experience of the painting rather than a literal interpretation of an image.

As an artist, I feel it is my obligation to observe and represent my experience in the world. My location and environment is a significant influence on my paintings. Different locations offer distinctive effects of light in their respective environments. For example, when I moved to Oakland, California in 1993 for graduate school, I was astounded by the golden light and deep blue of cast shadows—the color palette of the west coast was far different than that of the Midwest. The abstractions I painted during a residency in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 2006, reflect my inability to speak the language. It is interesting to note that some of my earliest cityscapes from the 1980s were located in South Minneapolis, as are the more recent willow tree portraits. Full circle, indeed!

The relationship of the natural, external world to the internal, corporeal body is also a focus of content throughout this body of work. For example, in recent exhibitions, I have used tree branches as a starting point of visual appeal and personal content. As I painted and manipulated them, the tree branches began to take on a biological reference, like neurological paths or veins. This tree image became more universal as a form of iconography that references both emotion and the human body.

In addition to reflecting on my practice as an artist, All Tomorrow’s Parties is a celebration of my teaching career and upcoming retirement in December. I hustled my way through ten years of adjunct teaching after graduate school—Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Macalester College, Metro State University, University of Minnesota, Gustavus Adolphus College—until I snagged the best gig of my teaching career at St. Catherine University in 2007. Teaching has served me well. It has allowed me a great deal of independence, and the ability to maintain my creative practice in meaningful ways. The rhythm of starting over twice a year has suited me and I have loved working with young people.

I am thankful for the colleagues, friends and communities that have supported and challenged me throughout the years.

I am thankful for all the twists and turns in my life, my teaching career and my painting practice.

And I am thankful that through all those twists and turns that I really, really, really wanted to stay in the game.

Artist Bio

Carol Lee Chase has been teaching painting and drawing at St. Catherine University since 2007.  Her artwork is focused on painting and interdisciplinary projects. She exhibits her work locally and nationally at venues including the Riverside Art Museum in California, the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul and Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis. Chase has received several awards and grants, including a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Assistance Grant in 2013 for travel to Istanbul. She was also awarded an artist’s residency at Atelier Höherweg in Düsseldorf, Germany in 2006. From 2004-2008, she served as the Curator and Program Coordinator of Painting’s Edge, a contemporary painter’s workshop in Idyllwild, California. Her work can be found in numerous private and corporate collections, including the Mayo Clinic, IBM and St. Paul Companies. She is represented by Groveland Gallery.

Chase received her MFA from California College of the Arts in Oakland, California in 1993 and her BA (studio art/French) from University of Wisconsin – River Falls. This is her third solo exhibition at The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery.

Twin Cities Art Week

This exhibition is part of Twin Cities Art Week, a celebration of the vibrant local contemporary art scene in 24 venues across Minneapolis and St. Paul. From September 27 – October 1, the Twin Cities Art Week will offer a full calendar of events including a gallery crawl, live performances, exhibition walkthroughs, film screenings, artist talks, parties and more. Spearheaded by Dreamsong, the participants of Twin Cities Art Week include major institutions, small non-profit spaces, commercial galleries, artist-run spaces and university galleries dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art.

Twin Cities Art Week Events at St. Catherine University
St. Kate's Evening with the Arts: Saturday, September 30
6:00-8:30 PM
The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery and The O'Shaughnessy
SOCIAL HOUR (6-7pm) + PERFORMANCE (7:30-8:30pm)
Join St. Kate's for an evening of visual and performance art across campus! See our current exhibitions by Carol Lee Chase and Bethany C. Rahn during a social hour in the gallery (free), followed by Classical Uprising: The [UNCERTAIN] Four Seasons at The O'Shaughnessy (TICKETS $5 to $33). Attend both the social hour and performance, and receive a coupon for a free n/a drink or snack at the performance.