Exactly That


Karla Black ( Scottish, 1972 )

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General Description

Karla Black materializes sculptures from “impermanent and raw” substances that are common to everyday life but unexpected for the medium—sugar paper, bath bombs, eyeshadow, cellophane, and chalk, to name a few. Both intuitive action and deliberate decisions inform her con­struction as she works otherwise delicate powders and plastics into defined and specific forms. Exactly That, created especially for the Dallas Museum of Art, employs the thinnest of materials yet manages to occupy the entire gallery, from floor to ceiling. Although it is tempting to describe Black’s works as feminine, the artist rejects that characterization, along with all attempted applications of symbolic or metaphorical significance. Black’s principal attention to color and texture can be felt as much as seen in her sculptures, and it is this aesthetic emphasis that makes her work visually and physically stunning to encounter.

Excerpt from

  • Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 226-227.

Web Resources

  • Dallas Museum of Art
    Review the 2012-2013 exhibition of Black's work at the DMA, Concentrations 55: Karla Black.

  • Guggenheim
    Learn more about Black and her work.