View of “Karla Black,” 2018. Photo: Jens Ziehe.

View of “Karla Black,” 2018. Photo: Jens Ziehe.

Karla Black

Capitain Petzel

View of “Karla Black,” 2018. Photo: Jens Ziehe.

Karla Black makes the kind of artwork that the janitor has to be instructed not to sweep up and discard. This drugstore expressionist deploys all kinds of cheap finery in rendering her delicate, perishable spillage. Powders and eye shadow and colored toilet paper are sprinkled, splattered, and smeared across surfaces often equally tenuous, unless they are simply the given floors or walls of the spaces where her work is exhibited.

Tattered instability is the appeal. Take a careless step and you just might destroy something. The tiny puffballs of Structure for Once (all works 2018), for instance: Scattered sporadically over roughly a third of Capitain Petzel’s ground-floor space, a few transparent crystals inexplicably dangling from ribbons above them, these little husks of poodlesque fluff asserted their strange artifice through color—green, pink, yellow, turquoise—like

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