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Former Chicago Tribune artist's work featured at I space

Melissa Mitchell, U. of I. News Bureau arts writer

Mary Antonakos, I space coordinator


"Desert Flower"
Click photo to enlarge
"Desert Flower," Ink on scratchboard, Cathie Bleck.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — An exhibition featuring paintings and sketches of a former Chicago Tribune art director/illustrator – will be on view Aug. 4 through 26 at I space, the Chicago gallery of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Cathie Bleck: Open Spaces” is the first Chicago solo exhibition for the Cleveland-based artist and alumna of the U. of I.’s School of Art and Design.

The show features work from her limited-edition book, also titled “Open Spaces.” A book-signing will be held during the opening reception for both shows, from 3-6 p.m. on Aug. 5. Bleck will lecture at 7 p.m. on Aug. 25 during a closing reception, scheduled from 6-8 p.m.

Bleck began her career as art director and staff illustrator at the Chicago Tribune in the 1980s. Her illustrations appear regularly on the op-ed pages of The New York Times, and she also has received commissions from The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Living, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Rockefeller Institute, Random House, Nestle, Good Earth and from Jimmy Carter.

Bleck’s work – which ultimately functions as a multi-dimensional form of storytelling, is characterized by the use of rich textures reflecting nature and personal references; delicate, fluid lines; and a fascination with the interplay of light and dark.

More information about the artist and her book is available online at

I space is located at 230 W. Superior St., Chicago. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.