Karla Black

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania 118 South 36th Street
April 24–July 28

Curated by Kate Kraczon

Experimenting with the fragility of materials such as cellophane, powder, lipstick, and eye shadow, Karla Black creates visceral sculptures that convey vulnerability and uncertainty yet remain stalwartly poised on the verge of something extraordinary. The Glasgow-based artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the US will consist of a massive, site-specific work, Practically in Shadow, 2013. Black’s largest hanging polyethylene form to date will be suspended from the ICA’s thirty-foot ceiling and bathed in natural light from the surrounding skylights. On the floor below, nearly seven thousand pounds of powdered plaster and paint will be arranged under a crown-like cellophane covering. Chalk dust, Sellotape, thread, bath bombs, and nail polish, all in pastel shades, will complete the palette. The tensions between these materials—of density and lightness, formlessness and structure—will surely strike the dramatic balance for which Black’s compositions are so well known.