Gail Catlin



Gail Catlin

Creative background

Gail Catlin is best known for being the first artist in South Africa to use and develop the liquid crystal technique. Liquid crystal is sensitive to changes in temperature and light and results in the artwork changing in colour and sheen.

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.

In addition to liquid crystal, Gail Catlin produces sculptural pieces, conceptual work and installations in various public spaces.

Gail Catlin’s work can be viewed in many of South Africa’s major public art museums as well as corporate art collections. She has also been invited to participate in prestigious art exhibitions across the world including in France, England, Russia. Amer and Germany

Gail won an award at the Grand Prix International art Plastiques, Nice, France in 1991 and 1994

Gail has made her mark in the
South African Art Industry and her work is saught after by many art lovers throughout the world.