Catherine M. Bleck
Distinguished Legacy Award
Catherine M. Bleck, recipient of the School of Art and Design’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, migrated from her early career as a graphic designer at the Chicago Tribune to one as an internationally respected visual artist. Bleck’s illustration career spans over 40 years, and in 2006 on publishing her monograph Open Spaces she launched her studio artwork into the gallery and museum world. Catherine’s work was featured in two solo exhibitions in 2008 at the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut and the Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio. Catherine’s work has appeared in over 70 exhibitions internationally and has been archived and displayed in the collections of the Butler Institute of American Art, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland, and Zg Gallery in Chicago.
She was commissioned for the U.S. State Department’s Earth Day and World Ocean Day images and by the U.S. Postal Service to create five postage stamps. Her artwork has appeared in the New York Times, Esquire, Business Week, the New Republic, Martha Stewart magazine, and Poetry Magazine; album covers for Warner Bros.; Brandi Carlile’s The Story album cover for Columbia Records; and Stevie Wonder’s Keep Our Love Alive album cover for Motown Records. Bleck illustrated book covers for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Character Is Destiny by John McCain, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, and Dante’s Divine Comedy, among many others. Current projects include permanent exhibition artwork for the Santa Ynez Chumash Museum and Cultural Center and artworks at Zg Gallery in Chicago.
Catherine is best known for her distinctive works in scratchboard and handmade kaolin clay pigments on clay board. In a process similar in concept to woodblock printing, her stylized forms are carved in intricate detail using razor sharp tools, and she employs wiping techniques to remove the lacquered inks and reveal the white of the clay beneath.
She has also lectured internationally, has conducted workshops, has written for art magazines, and has been featured in many art and design magazines including profiles in Communication Arts, 3×3, Step Inside Design, Hi-Fructose, and Juxtapoz Art and Culture Magazine. Catherine served as a founding member of ICON (the Illustration Conference) and president of ICON3-Philadelphia and was a board member for seven years.
Selected private collections with her art include the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals of Cleveland, the Honeywell Corporation, Bauerlein Steel, UCLA, Cypress Funds, the Chicago Tribune, St. Louis University, Zygote Press, the Art Toy Museum in California, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Gwyneth Vitello, Martha Stewart, Rev. Beyers Naude, Henry Adams and Marianne Berardi, Milton Glaser, Brandi Carlile, and Steve and Amy Louis.