Karen Black A ring for a squared circle

Sutton Gallery
13 April –
11 May 2024

We are pleased to present Karen Black’s seventh solo exhibition with Sutton Gallery, A ring for a squared circle. Featuring a suite of new paintings and ceramic sculptures, this exhibition highlights the artist’s continued exploration of the intangible within contemporary aesthetics, embedding themes of vulnerability, spontaneity and desire throughout.

Images appear and disappear at an irregular tempo within Black’s work. Through generous daubing, playful brushwork and an iterant process of reworking and re-composition, her artworks habitually parse out submerged narratives and fragments of histories. Black carefully invokes the viscosity of oil paint, simultaneously traversing and constituting the surface’s terrain. A dissonant scenography of landscapes, objects, figures and interiors emerges quietly within the richly textured canvas and ceramic planes.

This unique image-making technique is engendered by a dialogic approach to composition, whereby the artist carefully frames an exchange of both audial and visual language. Here, figurative elements unravel through a temporal process of looking and deduction, as the elapsing of time allows for perceptible forms to materialise out of the recesses of the painted surface and the caverns of sculpture’s contours. These labile expressions of intimacy ultimately lay bare a proximate, resounding sense of Black in the studio–an artist automatically making in response to past conversations, places, memories and speculations.

I am a knitted blanket
On thin ice
Swept away
By a risky murmur
Around the waterfall
Stranger things have happened

Racing the rain
Passing by a passer by
The rider 
On mountain head
With a silver tongue
For a floating cloud

A three-point landing
In a ring for a squared circle 
At the nightclub
At the campsite

– Curtis Black

Selected solo exhibitions

A ring for a squared circle, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2024; Gentle Pulse, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney, 2022; Pressure Points, Melbourne Art Fair, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2022; Arepo, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2022; The Cook and Her Driver, Karen Black and Virginia Leonard, Gertrude Glasshouse, Melbourne, 2020; Riding a blue horse, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2019; An Ordinary Poetry, Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore, 2017; Temporary Arrangements, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2017; Crown, Legs, Arms, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2016; Making Do, Sydney Contemporary, 2015; Piece of Wood, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney, 2015; Peace is guilty, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2014.

Selected group exhibitions

Thresholds, Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA), Albury, NSW, 2024; Once more with feeling, Ngununggula, NSW, 2023; Thin Skin, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, 2023; Zombie Eaters, Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA), Albury, NSW, 2022; Art in conflict, organised by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra and touring nationally, 2022–2025; The Archibald, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2021; The Archibald, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2020; The Cook and Her Driver, Gertrude Glasshouse, Melbourne, 2020; New Woman, Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane, 2019; Craftivism. Dissident Objects and Subversive Forms, Shepparton Art Museum, Victoria and touring nationally, 2018-2019; Beyond Reason. Exploring the logic of the imagination, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, 2018; Shut Up and Paint: NGV Collection, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2016; Painting, More Painting, ACCA, Melbourne, 2016 and Borders, barriers, walls, Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Melbourne, 2016.

Artist’s profile