Art Center Shows

Above: Karla Black (Scottish, born 1972), “Nothing is a Must” (2009); sugar paper, chalk, ribbon, lipstick, glitter and hairspray; Saatchi Gallery Collection. Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London. 

We love the fact that female artists are in the limelight this winter at the Des Moines Art Center, where exhibits in the museum’s various galleries feature works influenced by everything from how tractors operate to how kids play.

Scottish artist Karla Black, known for her large-scale installations that blur the line between sculpture and performance art, opens an exhibit Feb. 8 in the Anna K. Meredith Gallery. Inspired by childhood play, Black uses everyday materials, such as cellophane, cosmetics, Alka Seltzer and broken glass, to create large-scale pastel-colored abstract forms. About 15 sculptures will be installed in the gallery, plus two additional site-specific ones Black is creating for the I.M. Pei galleries. 

Also be sure to check out these shows in the museum’s smaller galleries:

  • “Hedda Sterne: Imagination and Machine” opened Jan. 10 in the Blank One Gallery. In 1961, Fortune magazine commissioned Sterne to create paintings of her impressions of John Deere tractor parts. The resulting works depict valves, transmissions and other parts in a surreal way. 
  • An exhibit opening Feb. 14 in the John Brady Print Gallery showcases drawings, photographs and prints based on biology, engineering, physics and other scientific fields. Female artists from the 17th century to today will be represented, including Mary Miss, Julie Mehretu and Mary Mattingly. 
  • The documentary “Judith Loves Martha” explores how dancer and choreographer Martha Graham sparked the creative path of Judith Godwin, one of the few female abstract expressionist painters from the 1950s. Created by renowned art photographer and Des Moines native Anna Gaskell, the film opens Jan. 17 in the Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey Gallery.

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