See This: Karen Black's Arepo exhibition at Sutton Gallery

A must-see new exhibition, Arepo by Karen Black - currently showing at Sutton Gallery in Fitzroy.

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. The influence of her background as a costume designer is a thread that can be traced throughout her career as a painter.


Installation views of Karen Black's exhibition, 'Arepo', via

In Arepo, Black brings the constituent elements of painting into dialogue with various theatrical conventions and operatic devices.

The suite of paintings What’s that noise there 1-17 (2021) can be read as a libretto in which the narrative for a speculative opera unfolds. Their double-panelled format reflects the symbiotic relationship between back and front stage, with characters emerging and extending beyond the picture plane as they transition between these two realms. Humble and uniform in scale, these small diptychs form the recitative – a monotonous style of singing that advances the plot by imitating the intonation and rhythm of speech.

Whats that noise there - 5_2021_oil on board_25 x 40cm.jpg

Installation views of Karen Black's exhibition, 'Arepo', via

Black’s trademark brushstrokes and use of colour echo set and lighting design, denoting shifts in mood and tethering scenes together across multiple paintings.


Installation views of Karen Black's exhibition, 'Arepo', via

The prima donna of Black’s opera – a large painting titled The Solo(ist) (2021) – is installed nearby at Flack Studio for July.

The Karen Black Arepo exhibition at Sutton Gallery is running now until 7 August 2021.


Installation views of Karen Black's exhibition, 'Arepo', via

Due to restrictions in Melbourne, Sutton Gallery has also launched an online iteration of the show via their Viewing Room: - head to their Instagram for Gallery opening updates.

Sutton Gallery represents a highly respected group of contemporary artists from Australia and New Zealand. Established in 1992, the gallery continues to operate from its original location on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, staging a monthly program of solo and group exhibitions.

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