“Looking is a marvellous thing of which we know but little. Through it we are turned absolutely towards the outside, but when we are most of all so, things happen in us that have waited longingly to be observed; and while they reach completion in us their significance grows up in the object outside.” Rainer Maria Rilke – letters to his wife Clara, 1907.
Many artists have in the past have placed great emphasis on looking as a fundamental part of their endeavour and a few have refined this thinking in terms of getting close to nature; or more precisely; to reality. It is easy to slip past these aphorisms and take them as read or even irrelevant. It is easy to see ourselves as separate from reality but; we are inescapably part of the reality we think we look upon. It flows through us and we flow through it and what one looks for; how one looks and what one makes of what is seen; is termed “imagination” and that process is not linear.
In looking; Katherine Gili is not trying to make a record of or a visual translation of what she has seen but is training herself to recognise, internalise and empathise with those forces which exist in the physical world, which of course we can feel but cannot see. This is not a contradiction for although we know of, tensions, compressions and torsions as well as gravity, these on their own would remain as scientific observations were it not for the fact of their capacity to enervate and articulate matter. The point at which sculpture departs from its commonalities with other visual art forms is in its potential to create an illusion of these forces acting in combination through a material. The sculptor; suitably attuned and having absorbed both, consciously and subconsciously, the emotional knowledge physical experience conveys, seeks then to battle with a material, with its properties and limitations, to bring something about. The result is the synthesis and expression of unique three dimensional structure.
Robert Persey 2016