Irish Museum of Modern Art

Exhibition: Karla Black | Irish Museum of Modern Art | 30 April – 26 July 2015

Karla Black is regarded as one of the pioneering contemporary artists of her generation. A Turner Prize nominee in 2011, she practices a kind of lyrical autonomous sculpture, influenced by psychoanalysis, feminism and its impact on visual art. Black’s work draws from a multiplicity of artistic traditions from expressionist painting, land art, performance, to formalism.  Black questions the rigours of sculptural form and her large-scale sculptures incorporate modest everyday substances, along with very traditional art-making materials to create abstract formations.

The site-specific exhibition at IMMA will present Karla Black’s extraordinary creative output, revealing the artist’s constant challenges to prevailing concepts of sculpture. Her interest in process has led her to expand the possibilities of whichever material she employs; from plaster, polythene, chalk dust and powder to eye-shadow, nail varnish, fake tan or toothpaste. Black chooses her media for their tactile aesthetic appeal: the familiarity of the texture of cellophane or the scent of cosmetics bridges the experience of tangible matter with the intimacy of memory of the subconscious. Black’s working process is intensely physical and this energy is conveyed through works that emphasise her free, experimental working method, combined with the editing, muting and reigning in of careful aesthetic judgement. Each element in her assemblages  interconnects physical, psychological, and theoretical stimuli which are both self-referential and relate to art as a wider-world experience.

Experimenting with ways to float material, form and colour at eye level remains a constant preoccupation in Black’s work, and this preoccupation remains as a thread in the exhibition at IMMA, which will present Black’s extraordinary creative output through a series of new works tailored for the spaces at IMMA.

Karla Black has stated in relation to her forthcoming exhibition at IMMA ‘I am preoccupied with trying to find ways to float material, form and colour at eye level. Over the years, I have discovered makeshift sculptural solutions that allow this to happen, while actively avoiding the obvious traditional tropes – painting a canvas and putting it on a wall, placing an object on a plinth or shelf etc. This preoccupation remains as I develop experimentation for the IMMA show’.

Black has said previously of her work: ‘While there are ideas about psychological and emotional developmental processes held within the sculptures I make, the things themselves are actual physical explorations into thinking, feeling, communicating and relating’.

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Ghost Ship, 1999
Dorothy Cross

In homage to the lightships that once marked dangerous reefs around the Irish coast, Ghost Ship was an decommissioned lightship painted with luminous paint and illuminated to glow and fade in cycles for a period of 3 weeks in Scotman’s Bay, Dun Laoghaire.
The original red, engineless lightships were moored to the bottom of the sea and and were crewed by men for weeks on end. Each had large white letters naming the rocks they marked - Daunt, South Roak, Conigebeg, Kish, Lucifer, Barrels, Codling. Manned until 1974, they have now been decommissioned and replaced by automated, electric buoys.
Read more on the Irish Museum of Modern Art website. Read more about Dorothy Cross on the Tate website.
Main image courtesy of Frith Street Gallery

This major mid-career survey of the work of the internationally admired Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander covers a decade of her work. A Day Like Any Other highlights her unique contribution to the narrative of Brazilian Conceptualism and reveals her wide ranging, interdisciplinary practice that merges painting, photography, film, sculpture, installation, collaborative actions and participatory events. Three installations in the exhibition involve direct visitor participation.