Gail Catlin

The ‘canvas’ is glass. The ‘paint’ is liquid crystal. The effect is a living, breathing spirit – part fine art, part performance. A choreography of form and colour that changes according to the light and where you happen to be standing..

Gail Catlin was born in Johannesburg in 1948 and grew up in KwaZulu-Natal. When Gail was 15 she journeyed across Africa, an adventure that made an indelible impression on her perception of the world, and which still inspires and informs her work. On her return, Gail worked as a set designer for the film industry in Johannesburg before starting work on her other great love – her family (Gail has eight children and an ever-growing brood of grandchildren).

When Gail was 30, she decided to pursue her art career full time. She was accepted to study a Masters Degree at London’s Royal College of Art, but instead she began working with Dr. Cyril Hilsum, an eccentric and charismatic scientist who was busy discovering practical applications for a substance called liquid crystal. Here was sensual material that possessed the unique ability to change colour and character when exposed to different temperatures or angles – very much like the ethereal world Gail had experienced on her travels. Gail had found her medium.

Gail’s Artistic Progression

  • 1983: Accepted for Master’s Degree at Royal College of Art London

National and International competitions:

  • 1979: Cape Town Biennial – South African National Gallery
  • 1981: South African Day Republic Day festival – Durban
  • 1981: First Cape Town triennial – South African National Gallery
  • 1985: Women Artist of South Africa – South African National Gallery
  • 1989: South African women paper Exhibition
  • 1990: Standard Bank National Drawing Competition
  • 1991: Grand Prix International art Plastiques – Nice France –
    Award winner of landscape category
  • 1993: Momentum Art – Biennial – South Africa
  • 1994: Grand Prix International art Plastiques – Nice France –
    Award winner
  • 1998: Art beyond Borders – Rathaus Augsberg – Germany, represented South Africa, a travelling exhibition
  • 1999: One woman solo show – South African Embassy London
  • 1999: Solo Show – Osborne studio – London
  • 2000- Exhibited on many group shows. Installed sculpture, conceptual and installations in various public spaces
  • 2008: Solo Exhibition Joao Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town

Public Collections:

  • Pulitzer Collection- America
  • Royal College of Art, London
  • South African National Gallery - Cape Town
  • Johannesburg Art Gallery
  • Pretoria Art Museum
  • Durban Art Gallery, Pietersburg Art Museum
  • Stellenbosch University Collection
  • South African Reserve Bank Collection
  • South African Reserve Bank, Pretoria
  • South African Department of Education and Training, Pretoria
  • Public Library Collection, Cape Town
  • Good Hope Bank of South Africa, Cape Town
  • Constitutional Court – Pretoria