Katherine Sullivan

Artist’s Statement

I have always been fascinated by the question of identity and the way we portray this in the world through the forms of our clothing and our architecture. Both are seen as metaphors for the body and for human experience. Dress both defines and de- individualises us and, in this sense, stands like architecture upon the dangerous margins between self and ‘other, inside and outside, private and public. The great architects of modernism recognised this connection, and used the body and it’s clothing in order to interpret the relationship between structure and ornament [façade] in their buildings. In 1883, the architect Gottfried Semper identified the very nature of architecture with the textile and stated that a building was ‘worn’ and not occupied. His understanding of body and clothes, structure and ornament as one, underpins the perceptual framework for my work. My experience as a costume maker and my subsequent translation of textile processes into sculptural elements within my work, place me in an excellent position to investigate this relationship. I initiate residencies in heritage sites in order to scrutinise in both academic and sculptural terms, the archaeology of this ‘mask’ or ‘membrane’ which stands upon this margin between public and private space. This leads to the creation of ‘equivalent’ fabrics that can be used in relation to structure in the sculptural process. I experiment with building and engineering materials whilst employing techniques found in the textile industry in order to create fabrics of my own. It has been my aim to remove the ornamental elements from clothing and buildings and their translation into solid, weight - bearing, enduring sculptural materials.

Photomontage and collage are tools I employ to begin the process of breaking down the boundaries between the sartorial and the architectural; they are my working drawings.

Curriculum Vitae

1997-9 MA [Art in Architecture] Univ. East London, Plaistow E13

1993-6 BA [hons] Fine Art Sculpture, Univ of Wolverhampton 2:1

1990-92 Nat Diploma Art & Design, Stourbridge College.

2017 Sept. Highly Commended, AIR Open, Studio 4, Trafford.
2016 Oppenheimer John Downs Foundation Award.
2010 Newport Women’s Forum Award
2007 Evolution of Buildings’ Project Funding Award, Juliet Gompert’s Trust, London

2007 Exhibition Award, Mayo County Council
2007 Craft Travel Award, The Gane Foundation, Bristol


2014 May- July 'Soul to Sole' Croome Park , Worces, National Trust.

2013- 14 Sept - May Wolverhampton University Residency.

2012-13 Oct - March, AA2A Residency, Coventry University/

2012 June - Sept Artist in Residence, Bridlington Hospital, Hafney Trust, Yorks

2009-10 Dec - Mar, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, Wales

2007-8 International Visiting Artist in Residence, Customs House Studios, Westport, Co Mayo, Eire

Selected Exhibitions


2016 15/9-26/9 Clifden Arts Festival, Connemara, Co Galway, Rep Ireland.

2009 Feb/Mar ‘Residues’ GPF Gallery, Newport, Gwent.

2007 Sep/Oct ‘Material Translations’, Custom House Gallery, Westport, Co Mayo.

2005 April/May ‘Fabrications’ Riverfront Arts Centre, Newport, Gwent.


2018 4/10 - 28/10 2018 'Making a New World'  Artizan Gallery, Torquay, Devon.

2018 June/July, ‘Balance’, Artist’s Workhouse gallery, Studely, Warwks/

2017 8-13 Oct, ‘Kleptomania’ Chalmers Bequest Gallery, Stoke Newington.

2017 Aug-Sept AIR Open, Studio 4 Gallery, Trafford, Manchester.

2017 July- Sept – Chester Arts Centre Open Exhibition. Chester.

2017 18/3 -26/3 ‘We Need to Talk about Clothes’ Hardwick Gallery, Cheltenham.

2017 7/3-22/3 ‘She will Need her Sisterhood’, Brunswick Gallery, Leeds.
2017 5/3–16/3 ‘Transgender, Gender, Psychoanalysis’, Site Fringe, London SE17.

2015/16 Dec-Feb ‘Making/Thinking’ Curious Projects Gallery, Eastbourne.