press release

Private View: Thursday 11 October, 6-8pm

IBID PROJECTS is pleased to present the first London solo exhibition of Glasgow-based artist Karla Black. The exhibition features three new sculptures: a hanging piece in three parts, a large-scale paper work and a floor-piece on show in the back gallery.

A distinguishing feature of Black’s practice is her use of familiar materials, many of which have connotations with the female body and domesticity as well as the ‘poor art’ movements of the 1960s and 70s. Pleasers Blend at the centre of the main gallery, for example, is typically constructed from several sheets of chalked and taped sugar paper, onto which Black has painted a skin of pastel-coloured cosmetics: concealer, foundation and spray-on tan.

The works are formed through a chance-orientated treatment. Cellophane, paper or powder are brought into different shapes that can recall spillages, off cuts or slipped-off and torn pieces of clothing. Despite their sometimes ‘throwaway’ appearance, which adds to the sculptures’ sense of fragility and temporality, they are in fact highly considered and arranged responses to the space. Each is the result of a prolonged period of construction on-site during which the artist forms, reduces and recomposes her work.

Not A Half Life Now contains further familiar ‘ingredients’: Vaseline, toothpaste, paint, hair gel, nail varnish and eye shadow. In the hands of the artist these materials are asked to pursue a new, aesthetic function, allowing them to take on diverse meanings, removed from normal use.

The disparate materiality of Black’s fragile objects goes against the history of sculpture and painting, dominated by the male artist’s incessant and heroic struggle with the material. In its place Black gently proposes a practice based on personal experience, that relates both “that strange fascination which one might get out of piercing the sticky skin of hot milk” with “the subtle traces of a (typically female) battlefield”.

Karla Black completed her MA in Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art in 2004. She has since had solo shows at galleries including Mary Mary Gallery, Glasgow (2006) and Galerie Sandra Buergel, Berlin (2006) and Outpost, Norwich (2006). Her group exhibitions have included ‘Like It Matters’ at CCA, Glasgow and ‘Poor Thing’ at Basel Kunsthalle, Basel (2007).

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Karla Black