In Nothing Lasts Forever, Bay Area artist Libby Black’s fourth solo exhibition at Marx & Zavattero, the artist invites viewers into an intimate, personal catalogue of memories and influences of the artist’s past and present. In a departure from her earlier explorations of luxury labels, high-end fashion motifs, and the glitzy emptiness of desire and greed, the Berkeley artist’s new body of work investigates a more subtle reminder that moments in time, though revisited, can never truly come back.
Black’s oil paintings, and gouache & graphite drawings take center stage in this exhibition. Her signature paper, hot glue, & acrylic sculptures – placed at strategic, nondescript locations around the gallery – will complement the show rather than dominate it. Black’s lush oils and works on paper feature personal trinkets, accessories, and books that have shaped who she is today into a series of still lifes that, in effect, become mini self-portraits of the artist. The high fashion references are present, but Black has selected imagery torn from current headlines, online news feeds, and magazine ads that are more moody and ambiguous. Tributes to Manet, Axl Rose, the lesbian-themed 1980s film Desert Hearts, the Waco Texas standoff, the Occupy movement, and Whitney Houston are amongst the flashes of moments in the artist’s – and by proxy our – collective memories. Like the still lifes, Nothing Lasts Forever promises to evoke a very personal journey acting as a revisionist vanitas.
Black’s recent museum exhibitions include New Image Sculpture, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX; Workout Room, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and New Art for a New Century: Contemporary Acquisitions 2000-2010, Orange County Museum of Art. She has had solo exhibitions at SPACES, Cleveland, OH; and Broad Street Gallery, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Other notable exhibitions include the important group survey Artists of Invention: A Century of CCA at the Oakland Museum of California; Bay Area Now 4, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; The 2004 California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art; The Superfly Effect, Jersey City Museum, NJ; Art on Paper 2008, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; and Smoke and Mirrors: Deception in Contemporary Art, Visual Arts Gallery, University of Alabama at Birmingham; and both Fabrications and Sea Change: The 10th Anniversary Exhibition at Marx & Zavattero among many, many others.
Black received her MFA from California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco in 2001, and her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1999. Her work has been reviewed and featured in Artforum, Art in America, Art & Auction, ARTnews, Paper Magazine, The Huffington Post, Zink Magazine, the New York Times, the Star Ledger, the Los Angeles Times, Elle Magazine, Origina (Mexico City, Mexico), the New York Sun, Art of the Times, New American Paintings, Art Basel Miami Beach (2005 & 2006), San Francisco Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, the SF Bay Guardian, Artweek, Flaunt, 7x7 Magazine, and several other publications. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Orange County Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, and The Chaney Family Collection, as well as an impressive number of renowned private collections around the world.