Friday, 22 August 2014


Karla Black (2014) Story of a Sensible Length [Polythene, plaster powder, powder paint and thread. ] image Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne.

Karla Black’s continuous process of creation and continual investigation into materials seems to start with loose experimentation of materials through ideas which often become redundant. Black’s creative drives push forward the creation of work which once physically engulfed in raw transformed materials, we navigate the works which fail to be totally tangible – they are finite, just like us.

Physical properties are manipulated, the art shop neglected and the chemist raided for toothpaste, soap and nail varnish. Pause. These aren’t some misconstrued material feminist comment, they are materials embedded in transitional states, they are the material world and they illicit our commercial desires to touch, to hold to desire. Black mines these materials for their inherent material substance and physical pull towards the touch of the human hand – of which remains visible.

Blacks’ sculptures are stretched and pulled away from paintings flattened in two dimensions into tangible pieces forced into reality.  Our physical experience of the work is centred on the limits of materiality as the sculptures step into our dimension of existence: and ask us to step into theirs – to investigate in a field of painted colour.

The limitations of working in a specific discipline can be frustrating unless exploited, Black explores the confines of sculpture and finds inside a mechanism to free colour from painted forms. Composition is uninhibited as the sculptures are allowed to hand in space like suspended thoughts and moments of energy frozen in corporeal positions. Freed from homogeneity, Black’s sculptures verge on the spontaneous, they are raw creative moments which challenge permanence.

Black works out of her own desires and unconscious, her work is not just pure gesture and is far from the self-indulgent abstract expressionist work of the 60s. Aesthetics are considered in an abstract sense, but they are worked into, again and again. Relationships between form and colour bring about the sensibility of a painter into sculpture, the process of painting is the sculpture, painting forms in space.

Ultimately Black’s works are powerfully fragile and strong propositions to start a conversation we all can join in.

New work by Karla Black is currently on display as part of  a multi-venue exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait gallery as part of; Generation: 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland until the 2nd November, 2014.  

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