Current Exhibitions


Photographs by Noah Doely

November 18, 2017 - February 4, 2018

Out of Darkness

From his series Above & Below, Cedar Falls, Iowa artist Noah Doely presents 18 black and white images made using a pinhole camera. These constructed, underwater cave scenes explore themes of evolution and origin and raise questions about authenticity in art.

Doely was inspired to make this series after reading about the evolution of the eye and the modern-day chambered nautilus, which has retained its same form for millions of years, including its primitive vision that is strikingly similar to an early form of photography, the pinhole camera. This connection between the evolution of the eye and early photography resonated with Doely as a photographer and a sculptor and he responded with perceptively crafted cave images.

I produced these images by casting and arranging rocks into cave-like formations, submerging them in a large water-filled glass tank, lighting these aqueous dioramas from a single light-source and then photographing them with exposures ranging from twenty-four hours to several days using a pinhole camera in an otherwise darkened room (see diagram). With this type of camera, I created primordial images that produce illusions of scale in a dialectic between the subject and means of apprehending or recording it. The nautilus’ eye and the cave are among the references I use to consider the notion of ancient vision.

Caves possess a web of connotations that relate to origins, vision, and illusion. My work aims to destabilize the notion of an authentic encounter by blurring the distinction between reality and illusion. I’m interested in the precarious nature of subjective experience and the range of interpretations that surround natural realities. Origins are a reoccurring and central theme in my work, which includes the role origin stories play in science, myth, and art. Although my work isn’t exclusively photographic, that medium remains central to my practice, because of its complicated relationship to truth and verifiability and its paradoxical ability to evoke both trust and skepticism.

Noah Doely was born in Golden Valley, Minnesota in 1982. He earned a BFA in Sculpture from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls in 2005 and an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego in 2013. He has had solo exhibitions at Steve Turner Contemporary in Los Angeles, California; San Diego Museum of Art; Locust Projects, Miami, Florida; Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, Florida; Viafarini, Milan, Italy; Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, Washington; and the Des Moines Art Center. He has been awarded fellowships and residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and The MacDowell Colony. Doely’s work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Juxtapoz Magazine, and Burnaway Magazine. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Northern Iowa.

Razzle-Dazzle: World War I Camouflage Ephemera from the Collection of Roy R. Behrens

November 3, 2017 - February 4, 2018

Razzle Dazzle

In conjunction with the World War I centennial, the Dubuque Museum of Art presents this exhibition of WWI-era prints, posters, diagrams, and photographs of naval camouflage from the collection of scholar Roy R. Behrens, professor of art and distinguished scholar at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

A noted scholar on the aesthetics and history of camouflage, see his blog CAMOUPEDIA, Roy R. Behrens has published seven books, hundreds of journal and magazine articles, and has been featured in interviews on NOVA, National Public Radio, Australian Public Radio, BBC, Iowa Public Radio, and Iowa Public Television, as well as in documentary films. He has been a nominee for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Awards, has received the Iowa Board of Regents Faculty Excellence Award, and has been described by Communication Arts magazine as “one of the most original thinkers in design.” His most recent book is Frank Lloyd Wright and Mason City: Architectural Heart of the Prairie (in press 2016).

Remnants of the West

Photography by Edward S. Curtis and Mark James

September 2, 2017 - January 7, 2018

Remnants of the West

This unique exhibition of 40 photographs spans more than a century, presenting contemporary landscape photographer Mark James alongside early 20th century photographer Edward S. Curtis. Both artists found inspiration in the American West. While Colorado photographer Mark James focuses exclusively on the natural landscape, Curtis documented Native American tribes and in the process captured stunning landscapes as backdrops to daily life. James has drawn inspiration from Curtis and Pictorialism, the 19th century art movement that promoted photography as an art form. Throughout the exhibition the images show this influence in direct, one-to-one conversations – connecting the past to the present.