Yavuz Gallery welcomes Karen Black

22 Aug 2023

Yavuz Gallery is proud to announce representation of celebrated Australian artist Karen Black.

Born in 1961 in Brisbane, Australia, and now based in Sydney, Australia, Black’s practice traverses the line between abstraction and figuration to explore feelings within the full scope of human relations. Her practice engages with the tensions and contradictions of desire, emotion and the self, working across painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture to transform traditional representations of the body. Often ambiguous and always charged with psychological nuance, Black’s work contains an intimacy and vulnerability that springs from her interest in radical care and gentleness.

Karen Black says of her practice, “I’m interested in the way a person’s posture or gaze can create a feeling and I think of the body reverberating through time and space. I use exercise diagrams to examine how the body distorts when it squats, rotates and bends and reassemble them on the canvas. It’s interesting how flexible the body is and I try to develop compositions that lean in to those moments of restlessness. I like to embrace that kind of beauty because it’s an expression of care that can be seen on the surface of the skin, like a gentle landscape wrapping around a body.”

Soft cloud, 2023, oil on canvas, 61 x 46 cm

“We are thrilled to welcome Karen Black to Yavuz Gallery”, says Founder and Director Can Yavuz. “Her works are filled with an uninhibited energy, making her one of Australia’s most exciting artists working today. The way she deftly weaves figures into abstraction is raw and playful, yet deeply psychological. We look forward to celebrating her work  Australia and internationally.”

Black’s work has been exhibited in major institutions including the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; Shepparton Art Museum, Shepparton; Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane; and Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne. In 2023, she was included in Once More With Feeling at Ngununggula Southern Highlands Regional Art Gallery, NSW, curated by Megan Monte, and Thin Skin at Monash University Museum of Art, curated by Jennifer Higgie. She has also presented internationally in Tokyo, Taipei, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

Black was a recipient of the 2017 Artspace One Year Studio Program, Sydney, and the 2019 Glasshouse/Stonehouse Residency, Chenaud, France. In 2022, she worked with Flack Studio and Ace Hotels worldwide to bring together Play-Clay, a community laneway project during Sydney Design Week. In 2023, she collaborated with her daughter Ruby Black for Flack Studio and Melbourne Design Week in conjunction with the National Gallery of Victoria, bringing together over 400 people across three days for the drawing project We need to hang out more. Black has been a finalist in various art awards including the prestigious Archibald and Sir John Sulman Prizes held at the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney. 

Black’s works are included in numerous public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Australian War Memorial, Canberra; Shepparton Art Museum, Shepparton; Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane; Griffith University Art Museum; Brisbane; University of Queensland, UQ Art Museum, Brisbane; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; Artbank, Australia; and the Salsali Private Museum, Dubai.

Yavuz will be present new work by Black at Sydney Contemporary 2023. She will debut her solo exhibition with the Gallery in November 2024. Black is represented in Melbourne, Australia, by Sutton Gallery.

Image: Karen Black. Photo: Hamish Ta Mé. Courtesy of the artist, Art Guide Australia, and Yavuz Gallery.