David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Karla Black, the artist's second solo show with the gallery. On view at 525 West 19th Street in New York will be sculptures made specifically for the space and completed on site.
Combining traditional artistic materials such as chalk, paper, paint, and plaster with everyday items including eye shadow, earth, ribbon, toilet paper, and cotton wool, Black's works are at once elaborate and simple, expressive and restrained. They challenge their own medium by being "almost" or "only just" objects with a close affinity to painting, performance art, and installation. As the artist notes, the "most important thing about the work is that it prioritizes material experience over language as a way to learn about and understand the world."
Hanging sculptures with contrasting densities, forms, and sizes open up the exhibition to an irregular, ovoid-shaped work covering over 800 square feet of the floor. Consisting of plaster powder and powder paint, it features interspersed curved shapes in white, pink, and various earth-toned hues. Colored toilet paper delicately divides the sculpture's surface and lines its perimeter, affording a sense of structure to an otherwise formless substance, while the various textures of the materials add a sense of movement to the space. As the art historian Briony Fer has observed, Black's work oscillates between materiality and immateriality: "This is the 'as if' of all art that claims to be able to hold onto autonomous expression.…Her work makes it possible to see affinities between things and possibilities for art today which were for a long time thought to be impossible—the possibility for an aesthetic that is both utopian and materialist, both pictorial and sculptural."¹
¹Briony Fer, "Karla Black's abstraction," Karla Black: Scotland + Venice. Exh. cat. (Glasgow: The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2011; published on the occasion of the artist's solo presentation at the 54th Venice Biennale), n.p.