Daily Archives: July 27, 2015

VAN July/August 2015: ‘If You Shout, No One Listens’ Jason Oakley Interviews Karla Black

Karla Black 6AycdYeobEq4Sjg79-kNrQs

Karla Black, Likeness, 2015, polythene, powder paint, plaster powder, thread, 180 x 150 x 110cm, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, photo by Denis Mortell


Jason Oakley: You’re well known for your use of unconventional, colourful and decorative materials in your sculpture – including cosmetics, craft and decorative materials. What were some of your initial motivations of working in this way?

Karla Black: I made a decision early on to make sure I do what I want to do, and to use the materials and the colours that I want to use. I love powders, pastes, oils, creams and gels. I work out of a desire for materials and colours. At one particular moment I might want to see a very large amount of powder in a certain colour, so I’ll lay that out so that I can see it.

When I’m making a work, even a large work in a gallery space, it’s just like someone making a painting in their studio. What’s different is that, because the materials and structures in the finished work are often retarded in states of potential – in that they remain structurally and materially abstract, or raw or somewhat unformed – people can see the trace of my hand or my body, or the energy of a gesture still within them.

JO: What has appealed to you most about making work for IMMA?

KB: The best word I can think of to describe the reasons why I decide to make a particular work for a particular space is ‘practical’. The practical realities of the room or space offered to me determine what sculpture it would be possible to make there. I respond to a site in a very physical way. All I’m thinking about is what shape it is, where the door is – because that determines how people will first see the work – how much light there is and whether there is daylight or artificial light.


VAN July/August 2015

JA15 cover Cliona Harmey, Dublin Ships,

Cliona Harmey, Dublin Ships, installed February 2015, North Wall Quay, Dublin, photo by Ros Kavanagh

1. Cover Image. Cliona Harmey, Dublin Ships, installed February 2015 North Wall Quay Dublin. Commissioned by Dublin City Council, photo by Ros Kavanagh
5. Column. Chris Clarke. Scratching the Surface.
6. Column. Joanne Laws. Articulating Value.
7. Column. Jonathan Carroll. Who’s Afraid of Performance Art?
8. Column. Tara Byrne. Ageism & Cognitive Dissonance.
10. Regional Profile. North Down: Resources & Activities. Arts Office, Jo Hatty, Seacourt Print Workshop, Sharon Regan, Lee Boyd.
13. Conference. Homes & Possibilities. Michaële Cutaya reports on ‘Nimble Spaces, Ways To Live Together’ at Visual, Carlow.
14. VAI Activity. 20:20 Vision. Responses to the question ‘What do you want from the Art World’ gathered by Glenn Holman and Andy Parsons at VAI’s Get Together 2015.
16. Career Development. Balance & Momentum. Suzanne Mooney discusses her art career.
17. Profile. Dialogues & Mediations. The Arts Council’s Curator in Residence scheme.
18. Art in Public. Insider Witness. Fiona Whelan outlines the motivations and thinking behind Ten: Territory, Encounter & Negotiation, A Critical Memoir.
19. Critique. Basic Space at 126, Galway; Gabhann Dunne, The LAB; ‘I will go there, take me home’ MAC, Belfast; Kathy Prendergast, Crawford; Daniel Chester, Paul Roy and Gary Robinson, Luan.
23. Career Development. It’s Never Too Late. George Robb outlines his recent shift to becoming a full-time artist.
24. VAI Activity. Responsive Synergies. Partner organisations and VAI’s Professional Development Programme.
25. Profile. Consciously Experimental. Declan Sheehan introduces the Social Studios and Gallery, Derry.