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 Brian Chapman  (1955 - 2004)

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Lived/Active: Washington      Known for: Painting

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Ad Code: 4
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from Auction House Records.
Mixed Media
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Obituary. The Seattle Times, Thursday, April 22, 2004

Brian Chapman, a 'quiet force' in the art world
By Tina Potterf
Seattle Times staff reporter

Friends and family remember Seattle-area artist and teacher Brian Chapman as a gifted painter, an accomplished dancer and a compassionate confidant who radiated warmth and put others at ease.

Mr. Chapman died suddenly March 27, following a brief illness.  He was 49.

Born in Seattle, Mr. Chapman graduated from Bellevue High School and later Bellevue Community College and the University of Washington, where he earned a bachelor of fine arts in art and dance.  Most recently he lived in LaConner in Skagit County.

A love of the arts was planted in Mr. Chapman as a child growing up in an artistic family, sister Vicki Minter said.

"My grandmother was a weaver, and my mother had been very talented in sewing," she said. "Brian had always had an interest in drawing and doing creative activities.  When he was in high school, it blossomed."

While at Bellevue Community College, Mr. Chapman pursued his other passion — dance. Years later he would work with dance luminaries Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham and pursue dance professionally in New York, before moving back to Seattle.

As an artist, Mr. Chapman's paintings and mixed-media work have been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the Puget Sound region and nationwide, including AT.31 Gallery in Seattle, the Lisa Harris Gallery at Pike Place Market, the Tacoma Art Museum and the Paulo Salvador Gallery in New York City.  Mr. Chapman's work is part of permanent corporate collections at the Westin Hotel in Seattle and the UW Medical Center, among others.

His last show, "Living In Mid-Air" at AT.31 Gallery, was called an "homage to risk, control and surrender"; the dark figures at the center of each of the mixed-media panels are depicted in motion, drawn as if they are dancers or gymnasts executing a series of moves.

Judith Kindler, owner of AT.31 Gallery, where Mr. Chapman's work was featured since 2000, said he was modest about his achievements in the art world.

"He's accomplished great things as an artist surviving and living on the basis of his art," she said. "(But) he's not one of the artists you hear a lot about. He's just been a quiet force."

Mr. Chapman's sister Minter said talking with her brother about art was "always an adventure."

"He was a complicated individual; everything wasn't right out in the open for you to understand," she said. "It took some talking to him to figure out what was going on in his mind. I have learned more about his art since he passed away."

Mr. Chapman was a natural teacher who loved to talk about art and share his passion with others.  Since 1998, he had taught fine arts at Seattle's Northwest School.

Most of all, Mr. Chapman was a sensitive, kind person who connected with people almost instantly, those who knew him said.

"(Brian) had an immediate warmth," Harris said. "He was one of the easiest people to talk to. He didn't have pretension."

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