Karen Black


Born Brisbane 1961.
Lives and works in Brisbane, Australia.

Karen Black's recognisable oil on marine ply paintings hover somewhere between figuration and abstraction. Swathes of vivid colour surround obscured figures veiled in drips and splashes of paint. Her subjects fuse the historical with the mythical and the political with the personal as she examines tales of separation, isolation, loss and violence. Black captures emotive expression with a raw mark or gestural brush stroke with impressive prowess.

Black has enjoyed great accolades since her recent arrival on the contemporary art scene after two decades in the costume design industry, and teaching art and screen printing in the community arts sector in Sydney. Drama and theatre inform her use of allegory and metaphor when tackling current tragedies such as the Egyptian revolution, Afghan refugees, and the Christmas Island asylum seekers deaths in 2010; "I do set up the paintings as if they were stage plays..I pit characters against each other." 

Karen Black completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Griffith University in 2011 and currently lives and works in Brisbane. In 2014 she was awarded the Belle Arti Prize and was the Art and Australia/Credit Suisse Private Banking Contemporary Art Award recipient the year prior. Karen Black's recent exhibitions of note include last year's Art & Australia Collection 2003-2013, Hazlehurst Regional Gallery, NSW; ART Hong Kong, 2012; Art Fair Tokyo, 2012 and in 2011; both Art Stage Singapore and Global Spotlight Artist at Art Taipei. Black's works are held in prestigious public collections including Monash University Museum of Art, Griffith University Art Gallery, Artbank, Macquarie Bank Collection and the Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, in addition to various private collections both in Australia and overseas.


Karen Black CV 2016

Artwork by Karen Black

Room for strangers, 2014

oil on marine plywood
two panel work
57 x 96cm