Karen Black’s painting practice explores time and space within global social, economic and political situations. With an interest in architecture, culture and history, the work tells the human stories within these environments, blending the historical with the mythical and traversing the complex interchange between the personal and the political.
Often at odds with their concept, Black’s works are full of rich colours and ambiguous shapes, which translate beautifully into the language of scarves. Her painting Licking the rain (2017), a finalist in the Art Gallery of New South Wales Sir John Sulman prize, comes alive on a generous swathe of cashmere and modal. Playing out like a film, Black’s invented cast of colourful characters introduce themselves to us as at various moments, depending on how the scarf is wrapped and draped.
Such a rich melody of colour, shape and fabric sparks intrigue and entices the wearer to imagine what stories lie beneath.