William Crovello: Katana

William Crovello: Katana

William Crovello (American, 1929-2021)


red granite 
Gift of the Martucci Family

Like the curved Japanese sword for which it is named, Katana (2000-1) by sculptor William Crovello (1929-2021) is sharp and balanced. Carved from a single slab of speckled red granite, the work’s split arms and hard edges register the difficult physical process of chiseling down and refining stone.

Each of the four symmetrical branches follows the same ninety-degree curve, forming a diamond aperture in the center. The work appears rigid and flexible at the same time. The great mass of the rock grinds the rectangular base into the soil, but the arms slope as if bending under their own weight. Crovello’s sculpture is architectural, illustrating the forces that bond a foundation to the ground and that suspend a frame in the air. Gravity merges with structural repose.

To really see the work, you must look through and around it, so that the environmental setting of the wider Clark campus becomes part of the experience. Shifting sunlight, cycling foliage, and changing weather fundamentally alter the appearance of the stone. Katana rewards long and repeated viewings as visitors embark and return from the museum and its surrounding trails.

Tensions between object and environment, internal logic and exterior stress, animate Katana, separating and coming together like the work’s four curving arms.