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Drawings by Alan Garfield on Display in Bisignano Art Gallery

By University Relations Staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Alan Garfield has led University of Dubuque students through western Europe on art and culture adventures for 23 years. During those travels, he would wake between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., take out a piece of paper, and draw something from the day's activities. Forty of those drawings and more are on display in the newest exhibit at UD's Bisignano Art Gallery.

"Bagatelle: Recent Drawings by Alan Garfield" is free and open to the public through Friday, October 27, 2023, in Heritage Center, 2255 Bennett Street.

"This show has a musical title, bagatelle. It seemed appropriate because these drawings are small, lightly arranged pieces done at the spur of the moment and not really unified by subject matter or content. Actually, I'd often listen to bagatelles by Beethoven and others late at night. These are drawings. They're not quick sketches, which I usually don't do. They are exact, purposeful, and yet abstract in their own ways. While they are not paintings, obviously, they are in my mind finished works," Garfield said.

Director of the Bisignano Art Gallery, Garfield never imagined a show of these drawings would occur.

"They are quick, well, fairly quick, drawings done in my studio. Studio? That would be in a modest European hotel or hostel room with a manila folder containing two or three pieces of paper and an envelope with four pencils and one sharpener... Often, I'd quietly move into a common area and draw. When I didn't have a roommate, I'd brew a fresh cuppa Earl Grey and listen to music, either classical or Irish, while concentrating. Either way, I'd often lose myself in the lines and shades, always trying to drill down into the deep darks and very light greys while trying not to miss an excuse to highlight negative space," Garfield said.

A free pre-show reception for "Bagatelle: Recent Drawings by Alan Garfield" will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in the art gallery. The pre-show reception will take place in conjunction with The Music of Billy Joel and Elton John with Michael Cavanaugh - Homecoming at UD!, which will begin at 8:00 p.m. in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center. For more information or to purchase tickets to the performance, please visit

Gallery hours are noon to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The art gallery is also open in conjunction with all major events in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center.

"Bagatelle: Recent European Drawings by Alan Garfield" is also available virtually at