Karla Black is a Scottish abstract sculptor and installation artist, who lives and works in Glasgow. Black creates abstract, immersive sculptures that explore physical experience as a way of understanding our world.
Black received her B.F.A. in Sculpture from the Glasgow School of Art in 1999. In 2000, she earned her M.A. Phil. in Art from Glasgow and in 2004 her M.F.A. from Glasgow. In 2011, Black represented Scotland at the 54th Venice Biennale and was nominated for the Turner Prize for her work “Doesn’t Care In Words.”
While Black uses traditional art materials like plaster, paint, and paper, she will also use non-traditional materials like cosmetics, toiletries, cellophane, or vaseline. Her work is often sprawled onto a floor or hanging from an overhead beam. Her process is impromptu staging, suggestive of a performance, and is made site-specific to the gallery where her work is to be shown. While her art may command an entire gallery space, it seems to be on the verge of collapsing.
Her “Include Use” is a sprawling installation of dry powdered paint and plaster, sprinkled on a gallery floor. Her “At Fault” installation consists of cellophane, bath salts, and powder, which fill an entire room at the Tate Museum.
Her work has been shown in various group exhibitions in galleries in London, Austria, Milan, New York, and Tate Britain, London. She was part of a two-person exhibition in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow. In 2013, She had her first museum show in the United States at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. In 2014 and 2016 she had solo gallery shows in New York City. The Irish Museum of Modern Art gave her a solo show in 2015 as did the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2017.
Her work is in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, Guggenheim, Tate Gallery London, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.