16 November 2017 - 16 December 2017

Karen Black, Temporary arrangements


Karen Black's Temporary Arrangements focuses on a selection of ceramics from her presentation in the Sidney Myer Ceramic Award at Shepparton Art Museum earlier this year.

The exhibition symbolises resilience and endurance through dramaturgical dialogues themed around war, and female driven narratives across time and place. Black's large sculptural forms are based on third and fourth century vessels seen by the artist at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum; these forms have miraculously outlived centuries of conflict and remain recognisable today as they are reinterpreted across contemporary ceramics and culture. The artist has meticulously scaled up the artefacts and by doing so has heightened the awareness of the lines and ornate stems against their voluptuous curves. Her vessels are imbued with oils on their unglazed surfaces, just like the original forms, embedded in the clay. This olfactory presence powerfully acknowledges the historical and contemporary relevance of these forms.

For Temporary Arrangements a significant painting backdrops the installation and affectively bridges the organic forms and gestural hand-coloured slips of her ceramic sculptures to her two dimensional picture plane of thick impasto and abstracted figures. The installation functions as a proscenium space in which the display of vessels and their painterly narratives unravel a feminist critique around the control and exchange of women's bodies as a chattel.

The works were produced at Artspace, Sydney during her one year studio residency.

Karen Black completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Griffith University in 2011 and currently lives and works in Sydney. Black has exhibited extensively in Australia and overseas. Selected exhibitions include: Sir John Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2017; Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, Shepparton Art Museum, Shepparton, 2017; Shut Up and Paint NGV Collection, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2016; Painting, More Painting, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2016 and Borders, Barriers, Walls, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, 2016. Black is currently a one year studio artist at Artspace, Sydney. Her works are held in prestigious collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Monash University Museum of Art, Griffith University Art Gallery, Artbank, Australian War Memorial, Macquarie Bank Collection and the Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, as well as various private collections both in Australia and overseas.

Artist's profile

View artist profile: Karen Black

Artwork from exhibition by Karen Black,