Through September 15, The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
is highlighting the artwork of Michigan native Catherine Hinkle, an artist ahead of her time. The exhibition A Precious Artistic Moment: Paintings by Catherine Hinkle showcases paintings that are abstract "color experiences." Hinkle's colorful artwork was on the cutting edge of abstract art in the 1950s, exploring the spiritual aspects of non-objective art.
"Catherine Hinkle's artistic career was cut short when she died at age 48," said Vicki C. Wright, KIA director of collections and exhibitions and curator of the exhibition. "Her work has not received the critical acclaim it deserves. Hinkle was an artist with an exceptional sense of color and design, a confident aesthetic vision, and strong ties to Southwest Michigan. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is honored to bring the work of this exceptional artist back into the public eye."
Visitors of the KIA will have the opportunity to take a public tour of the Catherine Hinkle exhibition on Sunday, September 8, at 2 p.m.
Hinkle grew up in St. Joseph, Michigan. After studying at Kalamazoo College for two years, Hinkle moved to Chicago to study visual design at the Institute of Design, where its founder, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, dubbed her his "little color genius." The Institute's curriculum was based on the principles of the Bauhaus, a German school of art, design, and architecture that profoundly influenced the development of modernism in Europe and America.
After receiving her B.A. in Visual Design in 1949, Hinkle developed a strong body of work-richly colored, multilayered canvases in a square format, with wide white frames that were constructed by her father. Although produced at the same time that Abstract Expressionism was emerging in New York, her abstract paintings exhibit an ordered, architectural structure that underscores her Bauhaus-based training. "My paintings are not an attempt to capture or re-make visual reality, but rather, they are color experiences or interpretations of abstract qualities through color. The key to understanding my work is not to see what is painted, but rather to feel it," she said about her work. During the 1950s, Hinkle exhibited her work in both regional and national exhibitions and received increasingly prominent recognition.
Most of the works in the exhibition are from the collection of the late Marilyn Hinkle. The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue have been generously supported by a gift from Tish Loveless.