uofl

Painting

Vignette: Catherine Bryant


“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” — Edgar Degas


"Yellow Villa" by Catherine Bryant, 12x9in, oil on canvas, plein air (2010), $395 |  BUY NOW

"Yellow Villa" by Catherine Bryant, 12x9in, oil on canvas, plein air (2010), $395 | BUY NOW

Catherine Bryant’s outlook on life may best be expressed in a phrase she likes, “Art is the breath of life.” After experiencing a troubled childhood, Bryant used art to change her life, or at least get moving in a better direction. Armed with a sketchbook and charcoal, she set out to find beauty and record the wonders around her. This journey took her into a world of constant growth.

Bryant is a landscape painter, but she doesn’t restrict herself to panoramic scenes of nature. In fact, her compositions tend to be more intimate glimpses of the way the trees and vegetation frames our point-of-view on the bucolic environment. “Yellow Villa” shows the expansive view that reaches off to the horizon, the diminishing fields becoming more abstract as the distance increases, but in “The Trees Speak Softly”, the viewer feels hidden in the shade, poised to eavesdrop on whatever privileged moment might be about to transpire just beyond the trees.

Another aspect of landscape compositions is the still, unmoving aspect that is so common, but in “Warm H20” Bryant captures a spontaneous moment in time, the immediacy of the interaction between horse and human palpably communicated with certainty and skill. Perhaps it is the introduction of animals, always a favorite with this artist, that represents an opportunity to inject some modicum of unpredictability into her compositions.

"Warm H2O" by Catherine Bryant, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2015)

"Warm H2O" by Catherine Bryant, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2015)

After a career in advertising as a Graphic Designer and airbrush illustrator, teaching classes at Ivy Tech, Bryant created her own business, working as a muralist for 25 years.  Realizing she wouldn’t always want to climb scaffolding, she started honing her skills as a fine art painter.

"The Trees Speak Softly" by Catherine Bryant, 8x10in, oil on canvas (plein air), $395 |  BUY NOW

"The Trees Speak Softly" by Catherine Bryant, 8x10in, oil on canvas (plein air), $395 | BUY NOW

Now, during the summer months, one can find the artist outdoors throughout the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana, painting  “plein air” (painting outdoors). She finds “plein air” painting to be the best method for sharpening her quick decision making skills; an invaluable exercise for simplifying composition, value assessment and color acuity, all the while completing a painting in a matter of a couple of hours. These lessons carry over back in the studio during the winter months.

Ms. Bryant teaches her passion for painting at Preston Arts Center on Bardstown Road, and in her private studio.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BA, University of Louisville
Gallery Representative: Jane Morgan Gallery; Edenside Gallery; Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft, and Hoosier Salon (Louisville) Broad Ripple Gallery (Indianapolis)
Website: http://www.catherinebryantart.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/catherinebryantstudio/

"1st Notes of Spring" by Catherine Bryant, 30x24in, oil on canvas, $2950 |  BUY NOW

"1st Notes of Spring" by Catherine Bryant, 30x24in, oil on canvas, $2950 | BUY NOW

"Sweet Dreams Dear Light," by Catherine Bryant, 11x14in, oil on canvas, plein air (2016), $495 |  BUY NOW

"Sweet Dreams Dear Light," by Catherine Bryant, 11x14in, oil on canvas, plein air (2016), $495 | BUY NOW

"Dance of the Texasbonnets and Indian Paintbrush" by Catherine Bryant, 48x36in, encaustic & oil on canvas (2016), $3500 |  BUY NOW

"Dance of the Texasbonnets and Indian Paintbrush" by Catherine Bryant, 48x36in, encaustic & oil on canvas (2016), $3500 | BUY NOW

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Sculpture, Public Art

Feature: Ed Hamilton

"Ed Hamilton's Studio"     P    hoto by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

"Ed Hamilton's Studio" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

On the west-facing side of the Glassworks building in downtown Louisville you will find an over-size image of sculptor ED HAMILTON with the legend, “Ed’s Louisville.” Part of a series of such tributes to native sons and daughters located throughout the city, the placement of this particular portrait is significant because the west side of town is where Hamilton came of age. Although born in Cincinnati, he grew up on what was then Walnut Street (later rechristened Muhammad Ali Boulevard); a stretch from 6th Street west to 18th Street that he describes in his autobiography as, “…my street, and I owned every crack and every weed in those concrete sidewalks.”* So it is appropriate that his visage is cast out onto what truly was Ed’s Louisville. 

It also explains why the renowned artist has never let fame lure him away. His heart is here, where his parents, Edward Hamilton, Sr. and Amy Jane Hamilton, ran the family business, a tailoring and barbershop, in the early Mammoth Building at 6th and Walnut Streets. Hamilton’s first steps as an artist were at Parkland Junior High School, where art teacher Harriet O’ Malley nominated him for the Children’s Free Art Classes (CFAC) operated by Louisville Visual Art, then called The Art Center, located on the University of Louisville campus. 

"Ed Hamilton working in his studio" P    hoto by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

"Ed Hamilton working in his studio" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

Hamilton becomes animated talking about this turning point: “If that teacher hadn’t picked me out for CFAC - she could have picked any of those other kids – but she picked me. I never would have gotten there on my own. I had no thought, no ambition to be an artist. That’s an example of why teachers are so important.”

Jean Mulhall, a professional medical illustrator taught that CFAC class, but the human form was not a subject. “We were mostly outside. We drew all over campus.”

Later he attended Shawnee High School, where his art instructor was Patsy Griffiths. In his autobiography, Hamilton describes the contentious atmosphere created by the push for “total” integration in the city schools: “I still remember the animosity and disrespect from white students in that school.” So the fact that Griffith, a white teacher, fostered the talent of a black student in the midst of such tension made an important impression on the budding young artist. When Hamilton graduated in 1965, she pushed him to apply for a scholarship to the Art Center School, which was located in the same building where he had taken CFAC classes. When he returned, with portfolio under his arm, for his interview, he was taken aback: “It had been a few years, and I was still young,’ he laughs, ”and I kept thinking, ‘this place sure seems familiar’.”

Art Center building,ULUA.001.0026, University of Louisville Archives & Records Center, Louisville, Kentucky

Art Center building,ULUA.001.0026, University of Louisville Archives & Records Center, Louisville, Kentucky

The Art Center building was located on South First Street on the U of L campus, and Hamilton used to hang out between classes at a café in Bigelow Hall that was a gathering place on campus for Black students. It was there he met his wife. “I made my move… and introduced myself. When she said her name was Bernadette…well, the name alone was enough for me!” For their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2017, the Hamiltons are planning a trip to Europe to celebrate.

Of course, there is a lot more life and history between that meeting and today. For 49 years Ed Hamilton has built a career and a reputation that now positions him as one of the foremost American sculptors of public work. Yet his studio is surprisingly modest considering the scale of some of his most famous pieces: the Lincoln Memorial in Louisville, the Joe Louis statue in Detroit, or the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, in Newport News, Virginia. It is a reminder of Hamilton’s humble roots and that, whatever his preeminence, he remains a hard-working artist.

"Bust of George DeBaptiste". Madison Indiana commission of an   Underground Railroad conductor.

"Bust of George DeBaptiste". Madison Indiana commission of an Underground Railroad conductor.

His latest commission is a life-size bronze bust of George DeBaptiste to be installed in a park development in Madison, Indiana. DeBaptiste (1815-1875) was a freeborn black man who settled in Madison before the Civil War and was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, ferrying slaves across the Ohio into Indiana, and later a key figure in the abolitionist movement after riots forced him to move his family to Michigan. It is a subject that fits very well into Hamilton’s oeuvre of African-American History. Taking on such stories as the mutiny of the slave-ship Amistad, African American soldiers during the American Civil War, the migration of southern blacks to the western United States, or the contributions of such individuals as Booker T. Washington and Medgar Evers, seems a natural task for someone with such an acute sense of history. Hamilton does extensive research into the historical background of each project just to prepare his submission, long before he has been formally selected. “I’d like to think it makes the difference – one of the reasons they choose ME.” Even 25 years after completing the Amistad Memorial in New Haven, Connecticut, he speaks extemporaneously and in great detail of Cinque’s mutiny aboard the notorious slave ship and the landmark Supreme Court ruling that finally allowed he and his compatriots to return to their native Sierre Leone twenty years before the Civil War. Should Hamilton ever wish to “retire” from making monuments, he could easily forge a lucrative career as a guest lecturer in history classes, just don’t expect that retirement to come anytime soon.

A 360° video featuring the "Bust of George DeBaptiste" (Madison Indiana commission of an Underground Railroad conductor) by Ed Hamilton. 

"Ed Hamilton" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

"Ed Hamilton" Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis For LVA (2016)

*The Birth of An Artist: A Journey of Discovery, by Ed Hamilton, Chicago Spectrum Press, 2006


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Photos by Sarah Katherine Davis. Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.