Cathie Bleck

HopeHorseBleckRiding on the Hope Horse, inks, handmade pigments on clay board panel, 12″ x 12″, 2009


In Awe, inks, handmade pigments on clay board panel, 18″ x 24″, 2010


Fire, inks, clay pigments, gold leaf on clay board panel, 21″ x 13″, 2014


Earth, inks, handmade pigments on clay board panel, 10.5″ x 6.5″ framed, 2014



Water, inks, clay pigments, gold leaf on clay board panel, 21″ x 13″, 2014



A Passing Thought, inks, handmade pigments on clay board panel, 9″ x 12″, 2014


Through the Wing, inks, clay on papyrus, 9″ x 12″, 2013


The Gift, inks on clay board panel, 36″ x 55″, 2010


The Rescue (Heron), Korns pencil, crayon, Charbonelle high-grade tusche on limestone slab, limited-edition lithograph, 11″ x 14″ ( 2″ border on 18″ x 15″ with deckled edges), 2013


The Chamber (Owl), Korns pencil, crayon, Charbonelle high-grade tusche on limestone slab Limited-edition lithograph, 11″ x 14″ (2″ border on 18″ x 15″ with deckled edges), 2013

Artist Statement

When I was a girl, I fell in love with darkness. The tools I work with—pen, ink, knives, and clay — became natural choices for me as someone drawn to observe and record the world in close detail. 

My art explores the space and tension among opposing forces. These forces in our lives can be profoundly good or extraordinarily bad. I don’t see darkness as a place of fear; rather, I choose to associate it with a sense of risk and excitement about possibilities that could be good or very bad: a state of mind.

I see and feel the most important part of being human as those moments when we have the courage to be reborn, rise up, and overcome adversity. What I find myself drawn to in art is depicting these explorative moments of transformation. Not the condition before or after but the state when something happens and we are moving through our lives. That is the point when we experience courage, love, and transcendence. This movement of life is a culmination of many pieces that fit together in a complex puzzle that shifts a little here and there, morphing over time. My intent is to interpret this outcome by using interconnected forms, intense contrasts of tone and imagery, building up the clay in layers of relief to give the work dimension, emphasizing the necessity for all species to maintain an equilibrium in a world of constant change.

About the Artist

Cathie Bleck, a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, for the past 20 years—she also has lived in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, and England—started her successful career as an artist in Chicago at The Chicago Tribune. She was raised as one of nine children in a family of artists on her grandfather’s tree farm, which now is a large forest preserve near the shores of Lake Michigan.

Bleck is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where she studied painting and design. The university presented her in 2014 with a Distinguished Alumni Award.

Initially a successful, internationally respected illustrator, Bleck published a monograph of her artwork, Open Spaces, in 2006, which quickly launched her career into the gallery world. She was given solo exhibitions in Chicago, New York City, Cleveland, and Toronto, as well as two museum shows in 2008, one at The New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut, which offered her a four-month mid-career retrospective, and the other at The Butler Museum, Youngstown, Ohio, which extended to her an invitation for a solo exhibition of new works, “Becoming Human”. Bleck’s work is in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Butler Institute of American Art, The New Britain Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Library of Congress, among others.

Throughout her career, Bleck has been awarded numerous international commissions that underscore the importance of her work. In addition to Taschen Books, which included her in its recent slipcased volume 100 Illustrators (October 2013), the U.S. State Department awarded her the prestigious honor of designing, in her distinctive clay-board technique, its Earth Day 2007 and World Ocean Day 2012 images. Sony Records, Time, Esquire, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Warner Brothers, Random House, Simon & Schuster, the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Forest Service, Martha Stewart Living, and Poetry magazine, among many others, have awarded Bleck commissions. The Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators, New York City, presented her with its Gold Medal in 2005.

Cathie Bleck has lectured internationally, been profiled in several leading art and design magazines, including Juxtapoz, which interviewed her for its August 2012 issue, conducted workshops, and interviewed artists for major arts magazines. She has appeared in more than 50 exhibitions throughout the world. In addition, she recently completed an artist residency in stone lithography at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and launched an exhibition of new works on papyrus at Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago.

Work by Bleck can be viewed at Pacer Schopf Gallery, Chicago; Bonfoey Gallery, Cleveland; and Yves LaRoche Gallery, Montreal. Currently, she is showing her work in the group exhibition “Filtered: What Does Love Look Like?”, on view through March 9, 2014, at Friesen Gallery, Ketchum, Idaho. Her last solo show, “frAGILITY”, comprising new works on papyrus, ran from November 1 through December 28, 2013, at Packer Gallery.

Bleck continues to grow as an artist, exploring scale, surface, and subject matter in her passionate form of storytelling constructed of dramatic light-dark rhythms.

Cathie Bleck’s Website

New Lithographs by Cathie Bleck (Cleveland Institute of Art Residency)

Cathie Bleck on Facebook

Friesen Gallery‘s “Filtered: What Does Love Look Like?

Interview with Cathie Bleck

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