Musing on Karla Black..

Today I am enthusiastically making plans. I am making calculations regarding quantity, sizes and installation of work for my upcoming exhibition, From West to East: A Journey in Watercolour (February 14-April 6) at Gallery 78 ( In the midst of this however, I was suddenly struck by the similarity between the cupcake I am snacking on, and the amazing work of Scottish artist Karla Black. I can’t resist indulging myself by exploring the correlation between this delicious treat next to me, and a Karla Black’s pleasing, contemporary, artwork further.

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Encountering Black’s work, I find myself repeatedly contemplating the notion a Tokens. Token are both big and small – simultaneously understood to be many things, in one respect ‘just a token gesture’ or, in monetary terms something which can be representative of the global currency we work our days away to acquire. Black’s sculptures make visceral the vastness, magnificence, and power carried within certain of life’s smallest gestures. Karla Black’s work is feminine, it is bold yet subtle – simultaneously grand and precious. No material is off limits here, she uses make-up, bath balms, plastic tarps and construction grade insulation among a great deal of other materials.
In Black’s work the visual language of the painted gesture comes to life in deep space. When I was studying for my undergraduate degree, I was completely taken with the work of American Colour Field painter Helen Frankenthaler. Frankenthaler was an innovator – as is Black today – she pushed boundaries all the while cultivating her the ability to express meaning the powerfully, an concisely.


Karla Black’s moving and ethereal work transcends medium. Escaping into her world for just a minute..

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Here is Black talking about her work for the Tate Modern:

Published by Danielle Hogan

Visual artist, writer, curator, educator

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