During an intense and concentrated eight day process the Glasgow-based artist Karla Black has created three sculptures in situ for westlondonprojects – Forget About Faces, There Can Be No Arguments and Punctuation is pretty popular: nobody wants to admit to much.
The specific, yet disparate, one-off thought processes embodied in the separate works come out of a general and continuous experimentation.
While there are ideas about psychological and emotional developmental processes held within the sculptures, the things themselves are actual physical explorations into thinking, feeling, communicating and relating. They are parts of an ongoing learning, or search for understanding, through a material experience that has been prioritised over language.
Generally, the sculptures are rooted in Kleinian Psychoanalysis and Feminism; in theories about the violent and sexual underpinnings of both individual mental mess, as in neuroses and psychosis, and the formlessness of specific points in art history, i.e. German and Abstract Expressionism, Viennese Actionism, Land Art, Anti-form and Feminist Performance.
Materials that are formless even in their functions, like medicines for minor ailments, household cleaners, toiletries and make-up are used along with plaster, chalk, paper and paint, which have the capacity to be structural and are transformative in intention.
Essentially, these configurations are made from mess or formless matter (that which is in a ‘pre-object’ type state), and from waste or used materials (that which is left ‘post-object’), as well as from straightforward art store supplies. None of the work is purely gestural, since there is obvious aesthetic intent. The finished things are almost objects, or only just objects. While nearly being performances, installations or paintings, the works actually retain a large amount of the autonomy of modernist sculpture. This is because sculpture is real. It is completely in the world, and therefore has the capacity at least to attempt to withhold the offer of travel elsewhere through an imaginary optical/cerebral escape. Since it is actually here, perhaps it is here to help.
Part of the disparate thinking within this exhibition is that happiness is to be had from an immersion in the physical world, from moments of fascination or absorbtion, when self-consciousness is lost and we be and do purely for the sake of it rather than imagining what we might look like to others. Another thought is that there are certain truths at the base of relationships between people, however deep down, that are undisputed. Everything else is just surface. All of the separate works here are caught between thoughtless gestures and seriously obsessive attempts at beauty. Editing is an idea that is prevalent. Deleting words once said or written, like erasing material evidence of deeds done, is a civilising procedure. Editing does the same job as attempts to cover up or prettify our physical selves. Both create a necessary distance from where we are unable to pick out that which is unpalatable. I do not see such screening as negative, but rather as a necessary and positive stance to avoid some unpleasant behaviours and events that can result from revealing too much or failing to establish boundaries. A complete whitewash, however, is almost never possible.
Born 1972 in Alexandria, Scotland
Lives & works in Glasgow
Masters Degree in Fine Art, Glasgow School of Art
Master of Philosophy (Art in Organisational Contexts),
Glasgow School of Art
BA Fine Art, Sculpture, Glasgow School of Art
Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes
Mary Mary, Glasgow
Inverleith House, Edinburgh
Wollust – the presence of absence, Columbus Art Foundation, Leipzig
Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
IBID Projects, London
Galerie Sandra Buergel, Berlin
Mary Mary, Glasgow
Have Him Be Her, Broadway 1602, New York
Mary Mary, Glasgow
Robert, Glasgow Project Room
Strange Solution, Art Now, Tate Britain, London
Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
Catch This: New Works from the Arts Council Collection,
Group show, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg
Ultramoderne, Hall Paul Wurth, Luxembourg
What Remains, Lambretto Art Project, Milan
Poor Thing, Kunsthalle Basel
Open Space presentation (Mary Mary), Art Cologne
Special Presentation, Broadway 1602, New York
Untitled - Works on Paper, Art:Concept, Paris
Planting the tele, Mary Mary, Glasgow
Pilot 2, London
Like It Matters, CCA, Glasgow
Exile, New York is a Good Hotel, Broadway 1602, New York
Not Yet Night, Studio Voltaire, London
Karla Black / Babak Ghazi, S1 Artspace, Sheffield
Spacemakers, Lothringer Dreizhen, Munich
MFA Degree show, Tramway, Glasgow
Rheinschau Art Projects, Cologne (with Transmission)
Synth, Kunstraum B/2, Leipzig
Cheyney Thompson / Karla Black, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow
Pallas, The Changing Room Gallery, Stirling
East International, Norwich Gallery
An American Conversation, Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone
The Châteaux, Switchspace, Glasgow
Half the World Away, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo
Man Dancing, Intermedia Gallery, Glasgow
October: Contemporary Art in St. Vincent Street, Glasgow
Hi-Civics, Market Gallery, Glasgow
Louder than Love, De Zeyp, Brussels
Someone, Somewhere…., Glasgow Project Room, Glasgow