Karen Black


Born Brisbane 1961.
Lives and works in Brisbane, Australia.

Karen Black's recognisable oil on marine ply paintings hover somewhere between figuration and abstraction. Swathes of vivid colour surround obscured figures veiled in drips and splashes of paint. Her subjects fuse the historical with the mythical and the political with the personal as she examines tales of separation, isolation, loss and violence. Black captures emotive expression with a raw mark or gestural brush stroke with impressive prowess.

Black has enjoyed great accolades since her recent arrival on the contemporary art scene after two decades in the costume design industry, and teaching art and screen printing in the community arts sector in Sydney. Drama and theatre inform her use of allegory and metaphor when tackling current tragedies such as the Egyptian revolution, Afghan refugees, and the Christmas Island asylum seekers deaths in 2010; "I do set up the paintings as if they were stage plays..I pit characters against each other." 

Karen Black completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Griffith University in 2011 and currently lives and works in Brisbane. Black has exhibited extensively in Australia and overseas. Selected exhibitions include: Sir John Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2017; Shut Up and Paint NGV Collection, NGV International, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2016; Painting, More Painting, ACCA, Melbourne, 2016 and Borders, barriers, walls, Monash University Museum of Art(MUMA), Melbourne, 2016. Earlier this year she was commissioned to create a new body of work for the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award at Shepparton Art Museum. Black is a 2017 Artspace One Year Studio Artist.
Her works are held in prestigious public collections including Monash University Museum of Art, Griffith University Art Gallery, Artbank, Australian War Memorial, Macquarie Bank Collection and the Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, in addition to various private collections both in Australia and overseas.


Karen Black CV 2018

Artwork by Karen Black

Room for strangers, 2014

oil on marine plywood
two panel work
57 x 96cm