Cathie Bleck
September 2008
some details
Aqua Regia 1 : Sold
The tender tear falls to earth.  Absorbed into the humus she resists pointless decay, taking a noble form.  In her resolve, hope is reborn and held patiently, awaiting the next chance to fly free.
Take note of the people in the bottom of the tear and bird on the headdress as many of these details change in the second version
Aqua Regia 2 : Sold
Beauty has been reborn and is now being released as peace from the masked noble tear of the warrior into the darkness of what is not known but can only be seen through the eyes of what has been learned through past mistakes.
Note the mask she wears as if she has fought a war, the bird has flown and perched on a sword and the people are reaching out for nourishment while the weeds have overgrown below.
Beauty Traps Study

I used the form of the hare as a template for the tree in the final painting.  The result is such that the tree seems to breath the life of this symbolic animal.  There are many layers of clay on top of her penetrating stare, yet hauntingly I feel as if the stare cannot not be masked by those many layers.  Historically, the hare has been a symbol for longevity, a sign of good luck.  It also meant “vigilance”: the animal is said to sleep with its eyes open, and medieval physicians believed that eating its meat led to insomnia.  (In classical anitiquity, on the other hand, eating such a meal was believed to make a person beautiful for nine days.)
Beauty Traps
The tree represents ancestral wisdom, standing vigilant like a lighthouse above the rocks, warning one to step away.   Vanity, preoccupation with ones physical self, sits on the left.  Self-absorption, preoccupation with ones own ideas and dreams, sits on the right.  In the foreground, two frogs escape, leading one back into a world filled with the beauty of others.
"Two Worlds"early phase
I probably spent the most time on this piece, struggling along for a year with it.  As you can see there is a lot of underpainting and I remember sanding a lot of clay off of this piece.
Two Worlds 48"x60" Inks, kaolin clay and gold leaf on clay-board Collection of the Artist

Out of the primitive root of our being have evolved two alterative worlds of human existence.  In the lower left of the painting we see a tear has formed.  The aggregate sorrow of the innumerable droplets of hope all around us that have failed to cling to the flower: the vision of the world as it might be. Yet, in sorrow lives the mother of life and future hope. She searches for where the new born and re born may belong and flourish.   Never baron, she returns to the eternal river, the endless wellspring of survival (the old species: coelacanth fish) where fragile hope is nurtured and reborn to reach again with joy in order to touch beauty, represented by the flower. Undistracted by the flower, the sloth is at peace - content with the bounty that is within easy reach, and confident of his just and privileged position.  Whatever falls into his lap is his destiny.  To the far right an apple falls from the tree, breaking tradition and entering a new path to follow.

Catalog for the Butler exhibition
Catalog cover and back
Detail from "Beauty traps" on cover and "Renaissance" on back
Process : Detail from "When we Became Human" This piece that I did a few years ago was the seed for this show.
Detail from "Renaissance"
Double page spread Study of Beauty for "A Choice"
Detail from "Beauty Traps"
Asent : Study for Beauty Traps : Renaissance all are 30"x60"
Detail from "Nature's Myth"
This  32 page exhibition catalog was designed by Mark Murphy and features the writing talents of Lou Zona, Butler Institute of American Art Director, and Marianne Berardi, PH.D. is a historian of Dutch and American Art, based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Here is an excerpt from Marianne’s essay : “She discovered it nearly 30 years ago, and since then has relished the way she can scrape sharp tools against the ink washes she applies to its surface, exposing the bright white kaolin clay beneath. Drawing against this whitest and most durable of all the earth’s clays—the same remarkable material from which fine Sèvres, Meissen and Chinese porcelain is made—is like sculpting a relief or making an engraving.”
The Butler Museum show
 Butler Institute of American Art Opening last Sunday : lecture in front of "A Choice"
The leopard represents power : poised over beauty he/she is trying to decide, shall I devour or admire her?
Aqua Regia 1 and 2
sketchbooks and Uncoiled Pleasures painting
my mom and dad
 My parents came in for the show from Chicago and we ventured out to the museum tonight to take it in without the crowd.  Having them here for this was a moment in my life I will never forget.
My youngest daughter Ana and her pal Janet and friend Amy
My oldest daughter Cari in the middle
Alaska's Road to No Where
Final piece as it ran in the paper
Preliminary sketches
I thought given Nancy's great highlight of women's political work and Zimm's analysis and the timely discussion of Alaska's road to no where that I would post my op ed piece from 2005 on the subject.  I remember being really astounded that the government would waste this kind of money.  Had I known that some of that money was taken away from strengthening the levy pre Katrina in New Orleans (correct me if I am wrong as someone just told me this today)...I would have attempted something a bit more strong.  I am curious about Zimm's observations having been told at times by art directors that my work looks like a mans (years ago I was told when living in Dallas).  I do think that my work has become more empathetic the older I get, though many times I am hired because of the feminine quality of the work.  So now I wonder, was my work closer to masculine in my younger years and why has it evolved in this way...hmmmm.  Got me thinking. 
Meta Gallery, Toronto Opening tonight
Nature's Myth 2 inks and kaolin on clayboard 18"x30"
I am in a group show called "Mapmakers" that opens tonight Sept 5th and here is the piece that is in the show.  If you are up in Toronto, I hope you can stop by and check out this great new gallery in the Distillery area. Some great artist's are in the show: Mars -1, Ben Tour, Alex Grey, Raul Casillas, Dean Chamberlain and more.  Also, there was a catalog produced for the exhibition.  20"x36" I wish I could be there but my show at The Butler museum opens next weekend and there is still so much to prepare.  Thanks for the support and if you go, please share your impressions.
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Juxtapoz Interview
Open Spaces : Artist Monograph