Katherine Wise

The beginning

The original patterns for the cast work are made from easily manipulated materials which are then produced in iron, bronze or aluminium. Having caught a vitality in the initial stages of making, as if by chance, the inherent properties of metal most facilitate a feeling of monumentality, reflecting the immense force of universal laws and the basic instinct to survive. At the same time the precarious nature of the making process reflects the fragility of life itself. Through this duality, I wish to suggest the massive strength of mother nature teetering in balance with the vulnerability of all that lives.

Simple and elemental, these works are between 5cm-35cm in height. The surface texture of the gorged bodies is important. Pits and ravines are not filled in the original pattern and flashing from the mould seams are deliberately not removed from the final casting. At the same time the ergonomic shape encourages exploration through touch, a very important means of assimilating information from these objects.

Artist's notes

How it is that we live forever

As a natural evolution of this, I began to stack the small cast units to develop a sense of man’s place in the history of time. Past, present and future, ‘The Towers of Time’ represent to me a coming together of knowledge in a slow evolutionary manner. Like sedimentary rock which grows in minute increments layering through precipitation and maturing in a perpetual cycle of deposit upon deposit. Incessant and unceasing.

The original work is comprised of 600 units of cast aluminium which are stacked between 1 – 3.5m in height to make twelve towers. The tower structure, which stands for territorial assertion and celebrates the generative power in nature, also gives rise to thoughts of prehistoric menhirs, standing stones, and the brief instant that each human life is present in the world.

‘How it is that we live forever’ is a line from the poem ‘Messenger’ by Mary Oliver.

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Wherever you are is called here

Celebrating the still and silent nature of sculpture, these totemic pieces are made to stand in groups outdoors to create a space in which a benign potency is generated; placing them in an outdoor environment allows for their life-cycle which includes deterioration and eventual demise. As well as a concern with content and with the making process, my interest lies in human interaction with the pieces. By becoming invested with other ideas, thoughts and events, the sculpture become entities in their own right. This is as much a personality of the work as my own initial intent.

Made mainly from discarded oak, these pieces are between 2.10 – 2.50m in height.

‘Wherever you are is called Here’ is a line taken from the poem ‘Lost’ by David Wagoner.

Artist's notes

Three Sisters

Wood is an important element in this work, representing grounded and fertile forms which are dictated by seasonal cycles. Ideas behind the piece are influenced by the nature of the wood chosen and through a simple process of construction my aim is to work with the fundamental vitality in the material. The subject matter emerges through this procedure. The rim of the lips of each piece is blackened by burning as are the backs.

The Three Sisters are made from eucalyptus, which is traditionally used in Greece for the building of fishing boats. I enjoy the notion of boat as mother and the very feminine shape of lips and labium. The heights of these pieces are 1.38m, 1.70m and 1.80m.

Artist's notes

Circle of Solitude and Enso

In Zen Buddhism the Enso is a circle hand drawn in one fluid movement as a meditative exercise to focus one’s energies. Traditionally representing enlightenment and completeness in its perfect form, the practice of making the Enso is like developing one’s creative soul. I see the shape as essence of life in form, which renews itself in continuous cyclical movement. Always in a state of flux, I find creating is a grounding and life-affirming daily practice.

Both sculptures are made from pippy oak with diameters measuring 90cm (Enso) and 100cm (Circle of Solitude).

Artist's notes

Finding new beginnings

‘Finding New Beginnings’ are a series of drawings which relate to the sculpted works. The charcoal lines in this triptych are drawn with sweeping arcs into wax or oil-soaked paper. With unpredictability the charcoal pigment runs before the surface flux fixes and solidifies. As the symmetry of the raw material is broken in the sculpted pieces, the central drawing breaks the edge of the frame of the paper. Each of these is an experiment where the elements are allowed to work with minimal intervention. This chance aspect is important, allowing, but at the same time releasing. I keep drawings that have the right sense of balance.

Paper, wax, oil, charcoal and oil stick these drawings are  200cm (H) x 75cm (W).

Artist's notes