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Doris Totten Chase

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Doris Totten CHASE April 29, 1923 ~ December 13, 2008 Artist, sculpture, filmmaker, mother and friend to many. Doris Chase realized big dreams and ambitions with energy, perseverance and love of life. A consummate conductor of her time here on earth, she made things happen. There was little unfocused time. Doris was born in Seattle April 29, 1923 to William and Helen Totten. She joined her brother Bill who was five years old at that time. She attended Ravenna grade school, Roosevelt High and the University of Washington where she concentrated her studies in art and architecture. In 1943 she married Elmo M. Chase, a naval officer, and moved to Berkley California for the duration of the war. Upon returning to Seattle in 1945 they resided on Capitol Hill, had son Gary (1946) and began building a home in View Ridge in 1949. During this time she was able to study under noted Northwest Artists Jacob Elshin, Nickolas Damascus, and Mark Tobey. In 1948 she had her first painting accepted into the Northwest Annual Exhibition. Randy was born in 1951 and she began teaching art at the Edison Technical School where many of her students became life long friends. Doris had her first solo exhibition in 1956 and her first international showing in Rome in 1962. Doris was never one to dwell in one artistic arena too long. Her artwork flowed through different mediums of painting that led to sculpture, evolving into experimental video and then dramatic filmmaking. In Seattle Doris is best known as a painter and sculptor. Her most notable sculpture commissions are "Changing Form" at Kerry Park and "Moon Gates" at Seattle Center. Doris and husband Elmo divorced in 1972 and she moved to New York City to pursue her new passion of video and film. She is considered a pioneer of video art and produced and directed over 70 films. Doris returned full time to Seattle in 2004. She loved New York, but always said "Seattle is home." Throughout her career she lectured at numerous museums and universities in Europe, Asia, India, Australia, and North and South America. Over the years she was awarded numerous honors including the Washington State Governors Award for the Arts (1992); Doris Chase Day, City of Seattle (1999);University of Washington School of Art, Doris Chase Annual Scholarship Award (2002);College Art Association Women's Tribute (2004); and the Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Achievement (2004). Selected film festival awards include: Avignon, Berlin, Cannes, Edinburgh, London, Montreal, Munich, New York, Oberhausen, and San Francisco. Locally, Doris's paintings and sculptures are in collections at the Henry Art Gallery of the University of Washington, Jundt Art Museum of Gonzaga University, Frye Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Northwest Art. Outside the Northwest her artwork in public and museum collections include the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Library, New York; National Film Library of Australia, Canberra; Museum of Modern Art, Kobe; Pompidou Center, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Art Institute of Chicago; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; British Film Institute and Institute of Contemporary Art, London. Doris was a spiritualist and saw each day as a new opportunity. She believed in the goodness of humanity and having purpose. She loved the solitude of nature and the embrace of family and friends. Doris will be dearly missed and we will never forget the twinkle in her eye, warm smile and zest for life. Doris is survived by sons Randy (Nancy) and Gary (Pam), grandson's Tom, James and Jonathan, sister-in-law Mary Totten, nieces Pat Totten (Gary Lawrence) and Cheri Grant. We extend a big Thank You to the assisted living staff at Horizon House and Providence Hospice. In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be made to the Horizon House Employee Fund, Providence Hospice of Seattle, and University of Washington Doris Totten Chase Endowment Fund. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at University Unitarian Church on Friday, January 9th 2009 at 2:00pm The address is 6556 35th Avenue NE, Seattle, Washington.
Published in The Seattle Times from Dec. 25 to Dec. 29, 2008
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