January 4, 1937 – October 1, 2008




William (Bill) Minschew was born in Wilson, North Carolina in 1937.  He graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina, M.F.A., 1961. The focus of his thesis was painting and sculpture’s relationship to architecture.  He completed his MFA with an exhibition at the Moorhead Gallery at the University of North Carolina.  Upon graduation he received a national Fulbright scholarship for post graduate work to study “adapting 17th Century concepts to the 20th Century form” at the Academy of Fine Arts, Rome, Italy.   A love affair with Italy was born.  Its art, culture, history and "la bella vita"  played an influential role in many facets of the life of this passionate artist. 

Returning to the States, he was offered a professorship at California State University in Fresno where he continued to teach for 40 years.  Bill fell in love with the West, especially the Sierra Foothills that reminded him of Tuscany.  He acquired a hilltop of 20 acres overlooking the San Joaquin Valley with 360 degree views.  He employed materials native to the West; copper, stucco, peeled Aspen, deep grained weathered boards, golden dried weeds and pea gravels were repurposed in a dazzling array of artistic expression.   He dug, blasted, planted, moved granite boulders and built his home (a charming, masterful log cabin) and studio (an imposing, dynamic, Southwest inspired, 10,000 sq.foot structure).  But even that was not enough.  He turned his meticulous eye to the surrounding landscape, creating an expansive veranda,  a complex of rock terraces and stone walkways with cascading waterfalls, and pathways and canyon-like channels where the sunrise chases the sunset and the sun looks for the moon.  He called this compound, “Volterra,” (Italian for “turned earth"), and to his friends it was affectionately referred to as “The Hill”.  The underlying concept of this space was to incorporate art with landscape and his work over his lifetime splendidly fits into this unique environment.

During the summer of 1986, Bill worked in Italy at a studio in Pietrasanta near the marble quarries of Carrara, a sacred source for demanding artists long before the days of Michelangelo.  With the help of skilled craftsmen, he pursued and developed a body of work in marble, bronze, wood and mixed media.  His work represented a single premise: “arrested motion.”  These works were featured in 2 one-man exhibitions in Fresno in 1987 and 1988.

In 1989, he spent a month touring Japan and meeting with many artists.  Japan was a lesson in nature’s spirituality, in addition to intensifying the artist’s sensitivity to detail.  Struck by the eloquent diversity of bamboo’s structure as well as by the reverence in which this material is held, Bill’s response as an artist to this new material created a striking body of work and lifelong connection to bamboo.  This led to living in Bali for a month in 1995 and attending the International Bamboo Congress in Bali where several of his works were exhibited. These experiences produced a large body of work and 2 major Exhibitions: one in Florence, Italy, and “Bamboo/Between Cultures” at the Fresno Art Museum in 1995.

His attention turned to computer design incorporating digital photography.  With several trips to Italy and his fascination with 15th century painter Piero della Francesca, he produced a series of extraordinary graphics combining the innovation of the Renaissance with the technological innovation of the 21st century.  Some 40 prints were exhibited at the Conley Gallery of Art in Fresno “Geometrica/Piero: A Visit” in 2000.

A trip to Egypt in 2005 proved to be a new and exciting inspiration.  He re-invented the iconography of some of the oldest and most famous man-made structures in the world, with startling new designs created by his mastery of computer technology. Three years in the works, “The Eqypt Portfolio (The Wrapped Journey Begins),” now on display, is a testament to this truly outstanding artist.

Bill Minschew lived his life to the fullest.  His art was more than an integral part of his life, it was HIS JOURNEY, his journey full of dreams and accomplishments, his journey through life’s mysteries.  We, his friends and associates, have been touched by Bill Minschew in indescribable ways.  He has given us so much in friendship and inspiration.  He will be greatly missed.