Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney presents Karen Black: It's Not Real

Published by: The Fold PR | 20-Feb-2020
One of Asia-Pacific's leading contemporary art galleries, Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney is pleased to present It's Not Real, a solo exhibition of new works by Australian artist Karen Black on 13 “ 28 March 2020.
Venue: Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney
Address: 799 Elizabeth St Zetland, Sydney NSW 2017 Australia
Date: 13 - 28 March 2020
Time: 10am - 5pm Tuesday to Saturday; or by appointment
Ticket: Free
Buy / Ticket:
Call: +61 2 9698 4696
Black's work explores loaded social and individual female driven narratives, traversing the complex interchange between the personal and the political.

Drawing on her background as a costume maker in the opera and theatre, as well as her own personal history, this new series of works comprises of a series of abstract portraits. All situated in the bedroom or looking out from a bedroom window into the garden (Black has recently left behind her precious garden), the works raise questions about the value, objectification and exclusion of women. Each painting spills in and out of its frame “ made specifically for the individual work “ making a psychological space for a personal narrative that may also be universal.

Naomi Riddle's essay investigating It's Not Real says, You can think of Karen Black's collection of paintings as a series of windows. We must look through an abstract frame to discover a figurative scene. And, the longer we look, we find other windows inside of these scenes.

It's Not Real reclaims the bedroom from her own position of autonomy. She is allowing us into this private space: what we are privy to, and what we are kept separate from, remains within her control, said Riddle.

Black has been the recipient of several awards including the Glasshouse Stonehouse Residency in France in 2019, which included the exhibition The Cook and her Driver at Gertrude Glasshouse in Melbourne in 2020. She was the recipient of the 2019 Artbank QPAC Commission and was also commissioned to make a new ceramic work for the New Woman exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane in Queensland in 2019. In 2019, 2018 and 2017, Black was a finalist in the prestigious Sir John Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. In 2017, she presented a solo installation of ceramics for the Sidney Myer Australian Ceramic Award at the Shepparton Art Museum in Victoria and was an Artspace One Year Studio Resident in Sydney.

Her work is included in numerous public collections including The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; The Australian War Memorial, Canberra; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; the Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane; Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, Brisbane; Artbank, Sydney; the Macquarie Group Collection; and the Salsali Private Museum, Dubai.

It's Not Real is on view at Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney from 13 “ 28 March 2020. Entry is free. For more information, please visit

Exhibition Details

It's Not Real
Karen Black
13 “ 28 March 2020
Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney, 799 Elizabeth St, Zetland, Sydney

Opening: Opening Friday, 13 March at 6 “ 8pm.

About Sullivan+Strumpf

Sullivan+Strumpf is one of Asia-Pacific's leading contemporary art galleries, representing the most engaging Australian and international artists. Celebrating 15 years in 2020, Sullivan+Strumpf was founded by co-directors Ursula Sullivan and Joanna Strumpf in 2005. The gallery has grown to have spaces in Sydney and Singapore and represents 39 established and emerging artists, and artist estates from across the Asia-Pacific and East Asia. The gallery presents an ambitious program of diverse exhibitions, publications and talks, and an international art fair schedule spanning Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. Sullivan+Strumpf has proudly helped to foster the careers of some of the most significant contemporary artists in the region and remains dedicated to supporting artists to realise their visions and forge long-term artistic careers.

Karen Black Bio

Karen Black is an Australian artist who lives and works in Sydney. Her painting practice explores the personal placed in global social, economic and political situations. The work tells the human stories within these environments with a commitment to women's stories. Blending the historical with the mythical, the works traverse the complex interchange between the personal and the political.

Recent solo exhibitions include Riding a blue horse, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne (2019); Not Hours Minutes, Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney (2018); An Ordinary Poetry, Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore (2017); Temporary Arrangements, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne (2017); Crown legs arms, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne (2016); Making Do, Sydney Contemporary (2015); and Dust Over Aleppo, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2014).

Karen Black has exhibited widely in international exhibitions and art fairs including the prestigious West Bund Art & Design, China (2019), ARTHK12, Hong Kong (2017, 2016, 2012); Art Fair Tokyo (2012); Art Stage Singapore (2011); and Art Taipei (2011), and was named as a Global Spotlight Artist at Art Taipei that year.

Recent group exhibitions of note include Beyond Reason, QUT Art Museum, Queensland (2019); Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks (2019); Craftivism-Dissident Objects + Subversive Forms, touring nationally until 2021; New Woman, Museum of Brisbane, Queensland (2019); The Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, Shepparton Art Museum (2017); Spring 1883, Sutton Gallery, The Establishment Hotel, Sydney (2017); Shut up and Paint, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2016); Painting. More Painting, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2016); Borders, Barriers, Walls, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2016); The Gold Award, Rockhampton Art Gallery, Queensland (2016); and Glazed and confused, Ceramics in Contemporary Art Practice, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Gymea (2015).

Black completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Griffith University in 2011.

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