I just got back from seeing the Elizabeth Catlett Show at the E & S Gallery west of downtown in Louisville. It is an impressive upscale gallery, and this was a very inspiring show.
Elizabeth Catlett's story is one of a first-rate artist, a woman of color who has endured many hardships. Her sculpture and her paintings and lithographs are remarkable, and the show has been very well-received.
Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence are two of my favorite 20th-century painters, and Catlett was a contemporary of theirs, as well as a friend. Another contemporary Black artist whose work has a similar graphic quality is Jonathan Green. I love his work, too.
There are similarities among the art of the three of them. The simplicity and graphic qualities of their paintings are very appealing to me.
Also in the gallery were many prints by other African American artists, and many of them shared that simplicity and clarity. For me, many of the designs looked like "a quilt waiting to happen."
Elizabeth Catlett is now 94, and still working. Because she now has use of only one hand, she is no longer doing sculptures, but she is still painting and doing prints and lithographs.
This spring has brought some good shows to Louisville, and this one was one of the best!
(Photos from the online Louisville Courier Journal article about Catlett, 4/26/09)