Discipline: Film/Video – experimental, Visual Art

Doris Chase

Discipline: Film/Video – experimental, Visual Art
Region: Seattle, WA
MacDowell Fellowships: 1983, 1984

Doris Totten Chase (1923-2008) was an American painter, teacher, and sculptor, but is best remembered for pioneering in the production of key works in the history of video art. Born in Seattle, Chase studied architecture at the University of Washington. She began painting in the 1950s, turning her focus to sculpture and, eventually, dance sculpture in the late 1960s. It was during her years creating dance sculpture – sculpture designed for interaction with dancers in performance – that Chase began experimenting with the use of film as a means of documentation and art. Her dance/sculpture films include Circles II, Moon Gates, Tall Arches, and Rocking Orange.

After relocating to New York in 1972, Chase was encouraged by video artist Nam June Paik to explore this discipline. Through the 1970s, she created significant works of art in video including Dance Five, Jonathan and the Rocker, Moon Redefined, Op Odyssey, and Jazz Dance. These works have been shown widely in festivals, screenings, and exhibits worldwide, and have been collected by museums and libraries. As an artist working seriously in this new medium, she gained recognition as a pioneer in the field.

Over the years, Chase was awarded numerous honors, including the Washington State Governors Award for the Arts, the University Of Washington School Of Art Doris Chase Annual Scholarship Award, the College Art Association Women’s Tribute, and the Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2004.



Doris Chase worked in the Veltin studio.

Veltin Studio was donated by alumni of the Veltin School, a school for girls in New York with a highly respected visual arts department. As the plaque just outside the entrance attests, this studio was used by poet Edwin Arlington Robinson during most of the 24 summers he spent at MacDowell. Perhaps most famously, Thornton Wilder put the finishing…

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