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The Art of Elizabeth Catlett. (eye).

The Art of Elizabeth Catlett by Samella Lewis Snowfire Publishing LLC, June 2001, $200.00 ISBN 0-615-11574-8

This reprinted homage reveals a life chiseled out of personal courage and a cache of works wrought with sustained power and expression.

Lewis's background as an educator and historian, teamed with her critical artist's eye, guides readers through a private tour of Catlett's life and work. The biographical material is straightforward and unsentimental. One section, "In Her Own Words: Teaching" will enlighten both young people and the not-so-young about the artist's professional and political challenges. Lewis's tireless work, including numerous interviews, walks the past into the present.

It is simple but bold shapes that inform Catlett's work. The influences of African and Mexican art are apparent, but Catlett retrofits those traditional vocabularies, and so reworks the faintly remembered elements that speak to her and to all those who would be her audience. Her voice is loud and clear. The forms set free in Catlett's sculptural pieces are, in fact, so powerful that they defy the expected limitation of a two-dimensional photo. Instead, her work invites viewers into a virtual tactile experience, indeed what all great sculpture demands. However, true to the form, the artist's simple but hardly plain vocabulary translates in any medium she decides to work.

This reprint has a luxurious feel and a state-of-the-art presentation.

E.D. Smith is an editor and art, architecture and design writer.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Cox, Matthews & Associates
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Smith, E.D.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2001
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