Memorial service for artist and professor Sandy Chism on Friday

March 7, 2013 9:00 AM

Mary Ann Travis

A memorial service for artist and associate professor of painting and drawing Sandy Chism will take place on Friday (March 8) from 3–4 p.m. in Rogers Memorial Chapel on the Tulane uptown campus.

Sandy Chism

Sandy Chism, artist and associate professor of painting and drawing, taught at Tulane since 1996 until her death in January 2013. (Photo from the Newcomb Art Department)

Chism, who taught at Tulane University in the Newcomb Art Department since 1996, died from ovarian cancer at age 55 on Jan. 2, 2013, in Great Bend, Kan., at the home of her sister.

In her work, Chism, a talented painter and sculptor, stayed close to nature and to her native Kansas with its ”opened vistas, tornadic wind and the dusty blurs of the prairie,” said Judith Burns McCrea, Chism’s mentor and a painting professor at the University of Kansas.

Chism’s experience living in New Orleans, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when she lost most of her artwork in the flooding, profoundly shaped her. “Sandy’s art changed in response to the horror and destruction of Katrina,” said McCrea. “She painted the innocent and abandoned.”

Teresa Cole, professor and chair of the Newcomb Art Department, said, “As an artist, Sandy could transform a canvas; often she would do it over and over again.”

Chism embraced change. “A work that was dark and covered with illusionistic, clustered crystals in the morning would be empty, light and full of space in the afternoon,” said Cole. “Her painted vision of the world was haunting, simple and poetic yet she was complex. Her integrity was unshakeable. Her thirst for information unquenchable.”

As a teacher, Chism demanded as much of her students as she did of herself, said Cole. “Her thoughtful comments in critiques open provocative lines of inquiry. The students as well as her colleagues gained richer, denser and more complex understanding of art and the act of making through her insights and reflections of the world.”

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