by sfe medusa
I would normally balk at the prospect of describing anything as “girly”, but Karla Black’s newest body of work showing at Stuart Shave/Modern Art on Helmet Row is a foray into a coral lipstick, Vaseline and gold leaf paradise that classes itself as feminine in a way that lacks patronisation or gender disparity.
Her sculptures are like the pretty keepsakes dotting a teenager’s room: glitter remnants from after a night out (resolute in its ability to avoid being cleaned), discarded rags hand-torn for a fancy dress party, the ever-present and ever-confusing cotton wool fluff, used wax strips, shower drains clogged with hair conditioner, the full lady works.
The pieces look like they’ve been attended to with the kind of care and effort that goes into a project that is destined to be immediately discarded after being seen, like make-up being painstakingly applied only to be briskly wiped off by sweat, or spending weeks saving for shoes that are agonisingly beautiful yet make feet scream cold murder on the first wear, so subsequently spend forever at the back of the cupboard.
Work is hung like necklaces, transparent and delicate yet staunchly in the way, objects of obstruction, like an unsettling memory.
They float, they are creamy and tactile to the eye, I want to touch everything and expect it all to smell like the sugar of Turkish Delight and Cher from Clueless.