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Cathie Bleck
Meta Gallery : Toronto : Opening Reception July 9th
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"The Shaman's Inheritance" : 36"x55" Inks and kaolin on clay board panel "Phantasmagoria" : a Group Exhibition : Cathie Bleck, Ray Ceasar, Dean Chamberlain, Andrew Jones, Kris Kuksi, Paul Laffoley, Mars-1. Opens July 9 through August 25 in Toronto at Meta Gallery : Contact Jody Polishchuk for further information or aquisition

I feel really honored to be showing with several of my favorite artists in this show opening this Friday, July 9th from 7-10pm. Joining me will be Ray Ceasar, Dean Chamberlain, Andrew Jones, Kris Kuksi, Paul Laffoley, and Mars-1.  I have looked forward to meeting Ray Ceasar and Kris Kuksi for a long time along with joining all my good pals up in Toronto!  Meta Gallery has moved to a new prime location in the heart of the Arts district in Toronto since my last show with them. 

This piece is the largest black and white piece that I have attempted in scratchboard, (also referred to as clay board in wood panel form). I started it in May this year after watching the play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" this past May (my daughter Ana was playing Rosencrantz).  The play concerns the misadventures and musings of these 2 minor characters from William Shakespeare's Hamlet who are childhood friends of the Prince, with Hamlet as background. After watching this abstract and absurd play, I began to see compasses everywhere in my head as the main characters and even Hamlet wandered about without a clear direction and eventually became hijacked by pirates leading to the innocent deaths of these fearless wanderers.  It made me think of how timely the play was as it explored the search for values and human fragility.  Later in that week I visited the Cleveland Museum of Art which had the great Shaw collection of Indian art.  These inspirations were vital to gathering the symbols to begin my narrative. I began with a fairly complicated composition that included elements of nature, the sands of time, a reverence for American Indians strength and their intuitive nature and rugged-tough skin.  Hence the helmut with scales which was originally going to be a tree trunk.  The spine she grasps is a yearning for integrity.  Then in June, my good friend art historian Marianne Berardi stopped in to visit and reminded me to look at Carravagio's works, especially how he used light in the piece  "The Denial of Saint Peter" http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1997.167. At this juncture, I revisited the Shaman's face and the design of the helmut and also decided that the soldier now should really be more of a young woman. Somehow the compass took on the feeling of a clock as well, inspired by a design I saw on a scarf.  The tendrils from the compass evolved more intuitively into moons serving as a universal symbol for eternity.  Sorry for the long explanation, but several people have asked me where my ideas come from. It is often hard as you know to disect where our ideas come from and this time it was very clear to me. 
We are indeed living in a time of great shifts : in powers of the world, American lack of exports (the empty belly), lack of integrity, entanglement of war, and the role our children will play in the context of the aftermath of our decisions...they are truly our hope and who we are serving.
I learned a great deal from working in liquid kaolin over these past few years.  Once I discovered that I could paint with the kaolin I went on this quest to learn a lot about not only colored pigments but the textures I could create with them.  I have returned full circle to the black and white work and plan to do a series of these over the next year. It is always difficult to show the texture of the work as it is somewhere between 2D and 3D.  Here is my best attempt at photographing some dimensional details from the piece, although there is some glare. 







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