From Elizabeth Catlett, Faces Etched in Sorrow

Thursday, April 21, 2005

? Think Elizabeth Catlett and you think iconic sculpture -- blocky bronze or wood renderings of heavy-hearted women. The native Washingtonian and Howard University graduate brings the same pathos to her prints on view in the Arts Club's first-floor galleries. Works on paper collected by an area couple, the Rev. Douglas E. Moore and Doris Hughes-Moore, are supplemented by prints from the artist's own collection. These 29 lithographs, linocuts and serigraphs survey six decades of artmaking -- from narrative works inspired by Catlett's grandmother's tales of slavery to portraits of black heroes. As ever, the artist's aim is mythmaking. The graphic nature of the linocut technique, with its high contrast and minimal detail, serves that agenda best. At their most transformative, her figures become archetypes of survival.

"Elizabeth Catlett: Prints 1946-Present" at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St. NW, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 202-331-7282, to April 30.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company