Vertical III

1975

Katherine Gili
First shown in the Annual Depot Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture 1975 and purchased by the Arts Council in the same year. Katherine has explained, ''I do not design sculptures in the sense of working everything out beforehand through drawing in the way that an architect makes a building. Nor do I make maquettes. I work by trail and error directly with the material in the studio. I have no preconceived idea of what the sculpture should look like, but I do have certain thoughts and feelings that I want to explore.'' Vertical III was one of her early sculptures that were based in a simple planar geometry and exploited the techniques of constructed steel sculpture that had become available to artist during the Twentieth Century through such pioneers as Picasso and Gonzales. These consist of flame cutting, grinding and welding. Flame cutting enables the sculptor to make shapes out of simple flat steel plates of varying thicknesses. Grinding is an abrasive process that enables surfaces and edges to be cleaned and refined. Welding is a technique for fusing separate shapes of steel together with a strong and permanent bond. Flame cutting also gives the sculptor the option of changing one's mind, the ability to take apart, reshape and re-form as Katherine has also said: ''the beauty of these three techniques is that they give you tremendous creative freedom to shape, to fix, to edit, to remake and assemble as often as you need to.'' Nothing was found, nothing was collage, each part made purposefully. ''This sculpture was built from the ground up. Each part and its relation to the next part carefully considered. What size and shape it was, whether the edges were rough or smooth, whether the weld joints were long or short etc. and overall, how it all worked together as a whole. Basic formal concerns that I have never abandoned.'' Vertical III is animated by the nature of its material and spaces, by the clarity of its parts and by their simple, but not simplistic, spatial disposition and relationship. They turn, tilt, fold, push and pull, support, buttress, rise and spread as a pack of cards setting off a diagonal thrust but not quite. Everything held in quiet control, comfortable in its stance, aware of its space and moving into that space without enclosing it. As the third sculpture in an apparent series, it could be thought of as a variation on a theme. But each individual sculpture has its own unqiue qualities, and the only commonality is in their exploration around a vertical axis, for in each case a new expressive spatial potential is searched for. There are impulses from within oneself that determine the nature and outcome of that search, as Katherine has also said ''One does not make sculpture for formal reasons alone.'' Precisely what these may be we can only speculate upon, but the vertical is related to our sense of stance and centre of gravity and when that is offset we become aware of the effort we need to expend, to return or to maintain with the space around us. - Robert Persey 2021 All quotations from Typescript of Katherine Gili: lecture at RBS 18, London 2008
  • Artwork Details: 231.4 x 152.4 x 45.7cm
  • Edition:
  • Material description: varnished steel
  • Credit line: © the artist
  • Theme: Abstract
  • Medium: Sculpture
  • Accession number: AC 1515
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