DAVENPORT.- The work of world-renowned calligrapher Edward M. Catich will be on view March 17-May 13 at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport. The exhibition is entitled Edward M. Catich: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Glass: A Selection of Works from St. Ambrose University.
Author and art historian Deba Foxley Leach (wife of former Congressman Jim Leach), guest-curated the exhibition whose timing relates to the 100-year observance of Catichs birth in 1906. The exhibition will be coordinated with area-wide events in conjunction with St. Ambrose University in Davenport, which holds the bulk of Catichs works and archives.
Some 40 works of art on paper, of paper, on stone and in glass will celebrate the artistic expression and spirit of this 20th-century American artist, Davenport teacher and internationally known calligrapher.
The exhibition will feature aspects of Catichs work, primarily taken from the St. Ambrose University collection, that reveal the artist as an individual of faith and with a sense of humor whose defining mission was teaching. Sketchbooks and a selection of his tools will be included.
The exhibition is intended for general audiences of all ages, and also will appeal to art students and art educators.
Visitors will learn how an artists talent was utilized to express an idea and how his chosen imagery and signature style combine to produce a unique vision in a variety of materials, including paper, stone and glass, said Figge Curator Michelle Robinson, Ph.D. The organization of the objects and accompanying texts will invite and inform visitors in the use of and relationships between the universal elements found in all artistic expression: line, color, form and light.
The exhibition consists of multiple groupings of works chosen for their unity of subject, symbol or theme. Each grouping includes works in paper, stone or tile and glass. For example, the face of Christ appears in a variety of media.
About Catich - Founder and former chairperson of the St. Ambrose University Art Department, Catich was well known as an author, stone-cutter, calligrapher, photographer, musician, liturgical artist, historian and lecturer.
Catich was orphaned at an early age. After a sign-writing apprenticeship under Walter Heberling in an Illinois orphanage, he worked as a union sign-writer in Chicago, where he also attended the Chicago Art Institute for three-and-a-half years. After earning a graduate degree from the University of Iowa, he went to Rome. During four years (1935-1939) of intensive paleographic and epigraphic research, he saw and formulated the kinesthetic linkage between the inscription letter-making of Imperial Rome and his own familiar Chicago sign writing.
He was staff consultant for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, calligraphic consultant for Encyclopedia Britannica (he designed its corporate identity symbol and bi-centennial medal) and was the consultant for several nationally known architectural firms.
His alphabet stones are in permanent collections of seven museums. His reputation as a stone cutter, calligrapher, liturgical artist and craftsman commands the highest respect in the United States and abroad. Examples of his lettering work in stone have been exhibited in institutions throughout the country and are a permanent part of the collection at Encyclopedia Britannica's corporate headquarters, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Reed College, Morton Arboretum and Harvard College.