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The landscapes and still life in Catherine Levinson’s “Color in May” are stylized yet essentially realistic.. Red trees, maroon shadows and yellow skies are among the phenomena in these paintings, rendered in gouache on paper, that are seldom seen in nature. 

The Bethesda artist acknowledges her affinity for the work of Henri Matisse, whose bright Mediterranean palate and simple, hard-edge shapes are an evident influence. Matisse is known for his arrangements of paper cutouts, and Levinson’s forms are as if they had been defined by scissors rather than a brush.

Levinson’s streamlined vistas include barns that appear American and tree-lined roads that look rather French. The rustic thoroughfares seem to be her essential subject, and not just because they could be somewhere in Provence. The play of simple uprights vs. open sky provides and elegant geometric symmetry, while the roads lead the eye of f he picture into infinity.

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