Histories in Black and White by Cathie Bleck

Histories in Black and White by Cathie Bleck
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Date(s) - 12/15/2015 - 12/16/2015
11:00 am - 5:00 pm

shaker historical society



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The Jack and Linda Lissauer Gallery at the Shaker Historical Society (SHS), 16740 South Park Boulevard in Shaker Heights, OH, announces the installation of “Histories in Black and White” by Cathie Bleck. Her work will be on display in the Lissauer Art Gallery from November 20, 2015 through January 15, 2016. Visit the Shaker Historical Society to see these works in person.

Gallery Opening Reception will be held at the Shaker Historical Society on November 20th from 6-8pm. Join us and meet the artist! The reception is free, but we do request that art lovers make a reservation by calling 216.921.1201

About the Artist

Cathie Bleck, an internationally respected artist is best known for her distinctive works in scratchboard and kaolin clay board.  Her stylized forms are cut through inks and handmade pigments, revealing the white of the kaolin clay beneath. It is a process similar in concept to woodblock printing.

Cathie Bleck has been exhibited in over fifty exhibitions internationally and archived and displayed in the collections of The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Butler Institute of American Art, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Library of Congress, Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland, Yves LaRoche Gallery in Montreal and Enid Lawson Gallery in London.  Her artwork has appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, The New Republic and on U.S. Postage stamps, Sony Records, Warner Bros. and Motown Records as well as the U. S. State Department’s Earth Day and World Ocean Day Images and classic covers for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Harper, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” as well as “Dante’s Divine Comedy” and “Farewell To Arms” by Ernest Hemingway.  Bleck has also lectured internationally, conducted workshops, written for art magazines and been featured in many art and design magazines. Cathie Bleck resides in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband George Muschler.

Artist Statement

            In this exhibition “Histories in Black and White” I will showcase a mini retrospective of my explorations and discoveries in kaolin clay paintings over the past thirty years; both works on paper (scratchboard) and panels (clayboard). Early works will transition to current large-scale dimensional works where the visual complexities of surface and tone unveil a world of images and relationships that are both fantastic and familiar to me. Several prints will also be on display including two stone lithographs; a popular printmaking technique in the 1800ʼs when printmaking technology allowed a traditional artist to work using traditional techniques; creating prints that could rival an original drawing. Organic shapes in my work are often accidental, as are other repeated forms. Within the cast of characters that reappear in various pieces, I reflect on the inner human condition through different animal characteristics. Birds convey the freedom of flight, moving from place to place, like the passages of a human upon a spirit journey. The owl, with its grand head and imposing eye, expresses calm poise, stillness and the perceptive vision one needs on a clouded path. Through its transformation and metamorphosis, the moth symbolizes elegance, truth and beauty, and also serves as a metaphor for the people who surround and support us through personal sacrifice, never asking for anything in return.

            Many of the works are dark, but the light in these compositions is always moving the viewer in some direction. I think of the shadows as a kind of poetry that reaches into our subconscious, providing a transitory space between the dark and light areas. Darkness heightens our sense of awareness because you have to strain “to see-to touch-to hear-to feel” darkness. Light, however, is our greatest source in seeking a direction. Yet we cannot have one without the other, because the symbiotic duality between light and darkness is how we encounter our fears and continue to move forward.