Karla Black, Opportunities For Girls, 2006. Installation view, Galerie Sandra Buergel, Berlin.


Karla Black

Modern Art Oxford
30 Pembroke Street
September 30–November 29, 2009

Curated by Michael Stanley

Karla Black’s approach is distinctly unfashionable: The Glasgow-based sculptor forthrightly asserts her predilection for “abstract not figurative art,” “material experience over language,” and “formal aesthetics rather than narrative, autobiographical detail.” So how did her fragile, floor-based or hanging conglomerates of paper, powder, cellophane, and toothpaste come to be so widely admired so quickly? (Her 2009 schedule also includes solo shows at the Migros Museum, Zurich; Inverleith House, Edinburgh; and the Kunstverein Hamburg.) Maybe it’s that this nonfigurative art insistently evokes sensuality and the body, that the work’s wordless experiences provoke valuable discourse on feminism and art history, and that Black’s brand of formalism is fearlessly personal. Featuring several new site-specific installations, Black’s most comprehensive exhibition to date is reason enough to visit the city of dreaming spires.