I am interested in collaborative work.
Inspired by plants and architecture, I create brightly colored, playful, often interactive, sculptures out of steel, glass, wire, hardware and found objects. My work conveys a joyful, playful message through abstract shapes and forms to those who interact with it. Starting with long, straight steel rods, I create armatures by bending and welding them, manipulating them like pliable fiber. I focus on the transformation of humble materials into surfaces and structures, rooted in textile traditions like quilting, weaving, lacemaking and knotless netting.
Over the last eighteen years, I have learned metal fabrication. After priming and spray painting, each armature returns to my "clean" fiber studio where I build up surfaces using wire, hardware and other elements. I attach additional materials by piercing or drilling them and "sewing" them onto the welded forms. My sculptures are suitable for permanent public settings and outdoors. These include welding large areas of plasma cut sheet steel (instead of strands of hardware) and the use of stainless steel rod, instead of wire, as well as handmade glass beads.
Gail Katz-James is a Minneapolis artist who transforms steel, wire and recycled objects into playful, vividly colored sculptures that provoke curiosity and often include interactive elements. She enjoys creating site-specific work for kids and families, to enliven settings like healthcare and educational facilities. She received an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, for fiscal year 2016. Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota commissioned two large, indoor permanent works, Playful Prisms, and Found Treasures, for their St. Paul and Minneapolis branches in 2012 and 2015. Her practice includes outdoor sculptures which she exhibits in regional sculpture walks. In 2019, Gail installed Flour Sack Rack, a permanent sculptural bike rack including enamel on steel, for the City of Minneapolis and An Owl’s Perspective, an outdoor interactive sculpture made of willow, steel and hardware for the City of Bloomington.
I am available to teach sculpture, printmaking, fiber and other mixed media courses to children and adults. In addition, I love creating and facilitating participatory public art projects for specific communities and spaces. For example, I taught Fulton Favorites, a lawn sign project, that resulted in over 200 unique lawn signs being exhibited in a local park, and then spread out over two neighborhoods in Minneapolis. I also worked with citizens in Bloomington, MN to create willow and wire "feathers" in my latest project, Owl's Perspective, which were attached to a monumental steel and willow owl's head.