Contemporary art and a new decade of 21st century sculpture

Karla Black

Karla Black - contemporary sculpture

Scottish artist Karla Black's acclaimed works operate in a state of flux between various fascinating dichotomies.

One of the most obvious is the tension evoked between ephemerality and physical presence.

Black's materials of choice - powders, cosmetics, sticky tape, polythene sheeting - are fragile both in appearance and nature. Gauzy powdered swathes are tethered in mid-air; chalks, paints and ointments are delicately dabbed or crumbled onto surfaces.

Yet the process of making is also entirely evident, an immediacy that lends a physical presence to the work which Black herself describes as "raw".

This duality between the substantial and the suggestive goes further still. Black sees her practice as "rooted in Kleinian psychology", its exploration of physicality underlined by Melanie Klein's post-Freudian theories on the importance of our relationship with objects and their pivotal role in intuitive, pre-linguistic development.

In keeping with this emphasis, Black asserts that her own approach to production is very much mediated by the unconscious.

Karla Black
images © Karla Black

Such a preponderance of concerns typically associated with 'feminine' creativity, as well as the artist's use of face powders, moisturisers, gels, kitchen scouring creams and many other cosmetic/domestic products, can lead to assumptions that Black's work is specifically concerned with gender.

What she wishes to express, however, is a personal world of experience, and as Black has pointed out, her materials also include many traditional mediums such as plaster, paint, paper and chalk.

Interlacing the conventional and non-conventional, the corporeal and incorporeal, Black's work perfectly conveys that most subtle of dualities: the profoundly poetic and accessibly prosaic.


Limited edition sculpture by Karla Black

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