Max Durón, Senior Editor at ARTnews, selected the work of Karen Navarro at Foto Relevance among The 8 Best Booths at Expo Chicago, From Pleated Knots to Poignant Works About Memory. Durón interviewed Navarro on Thursday during EXPO’s VIP opening preview.
Houston-based artist Karen Navarro has long been thinking about her own migration from Argentina eight years ago. For a photo-based series titled “Neither Here Nor There” (2021–22), she has photographed several people who either immigrated to the US or whose family did so one or two generations ago. She then blows up these images to a large scale and fragments them. Next, she mounts the prints to wood and seals them with resin.
In one portrait printed across four blocks, a man’s face just barely misses the perfect alignment, with small gaps in between; in another, horizontal strips from a photograph of a woman give the effect that the image is glitching as it loads. Navarro, who was on hand during the VIP preview, said she wanted to explore the ways in which identity is socially and culturally constructed, especially for people who have immigrated to the US. The gaps in the works’ compositions represent the times where “you don’t know your own history” and how that offers an opportunity to “fill it in” with whatever you want.
Join artist Ann Johnson for a panel discussion with Rabéa Ballin, Sarah Darro, Jennifer Ford, and Karen Navarro about the intersection of art, fashion, and design, and how it inspires their work and culture at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
This program is presented in conjunction with CAMH COURT and in collaboration with Tradeblock.
PHOTOGRAPHY SUMMER SESSION 7
AUGUST 13–18, 2023 | Instructor: Karen Navarro
Pushing the Boundaries of Collage: This workshop will introduce materials and techniques to push the boundaries of traditional collage. We’ll investigate the foundations of identity through portraiture collages. Students may work with their own archive or found images. The workshop will cover cut-and-paste techniques, digital manipulation and printing, painterly processes, and image appropriation. Materials will be provided, and students are also encouraged to bring their own collections of ephemera: photographs, magazines, wallpaper, cardboard, fabric scraps, etc. All levels. Register here.
“HOUSTON, TX—Karen Navarro‘s multifaceted celebration of immigrant diasporas in the United States in her newest exhibition Somos Millones represents an expansive milestone for the Argentine artist. Accompanying her acclaimed deconstructed portraits with light works, crowd-sourced skin tones, text, demographic data, and participatory installations, Navarro dynamically reassembles fragments of public identity and the aesthetics of dislocation into the playful allure of the abstract. ” Vicente Cayuela. Click here to read the full interview.
Foto Relevance invites you to the gallery for a conversation between artist Karen Navarro and Erika Mei Chua Holum, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Assistant Curator at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. The two will discuss work in Navarro’s solo show Somos Millones (we are millions), which highlights first, second, and third generation American immigrants through deconstructed and reconstructed photo sculptures. Building upon her 2021 solo exhibition at Foto Relevance, The Constructed Self, Navarro’s new bodies of work expand upon notions of identity and belonging in the series Neither Here Nor There and América Utópica.
Join us on Saturday, January 28th at 11am for coffee, light bites, and conversation. Click here for more info.
Read the full article by Kate Mothes on Karen’ show: Somos Millones here.
“The relationship between Indigenous identity and immigrant experience is a complex one; both involve a sense of belonging to a place or way of life and combine in Navarro’s personal experience. Not only did she move from one country to another, she excavates an intricate relationship with her ancestral culture in the country where she was born with little familial information to work with, filling in gaps and making connections where she can. The physically and emotionally laborious process of relocating, and both building and sustaining social networks across disparate geographies, is translated into an overall expression of identity and community as a constantly evolving process.” Kate Mothes.
Navarro’s work accompanying an article by Simon Blin on the French newspaper, Liberation. Read the entire article here
This February, Big Medium takes on Mexico City to participate in Latin America’s leading art fair, ZⓈONAMACO.
As they explore vast platforms internationally, they will feature artworks by local artists Karen Navarro, Xavier Schipani, and Adrian Armstrong.
Somos Millones, a solo exhibition of works by Karen Navarro, will be on view at Foto Relevance from January 13 through February 25, 2023. Somos Millones (we are millions) is a visual expression of identity through the artist’s uniquely deconstructed and reconstructed portraits of first, second and third generation American immigrants. Navarro’s mixed-media works investigate a sense of belonging as influenced by race, migration, and the artist’s own indigenous identity. By exploring her ancestral culture, and her experience as an American immigrant, she creates connections between a vast constellation of identities in the present time — connections which reinforce a vision of a more just future. Navarro utilizes crowdsourced skin tones, data, and language to craft deeply resonant portraits and experiential installations, inviting the viewer to see the world through her gaze. More info here.
Untitled (perspective) & Fragment featured in the article Parlasi Dentro by Caroline Williams in the Italian magazine Internazionale.
“The Argentinian artist, considered one of the major emerging talents of international photography, has developed some projects related to the theme of identity, self-representation and belonging.” Manuelaannamaria Accinno.
Originally published in Rolling Stone Italia this article is now available to read in Black Camera. Read more here.
Texas A&M University presents Karen Navarro, “The Constructed Self” as part of the 2022 FotoFest Biennial, “If I Had a Hammer.”
The show is currently on view and runs until Oct. 27, 2022.
You are invited to the artist’s talk and reception.
Artist talk: Wed. Oct. 5th 3-4 pm.
Reception: Wed. Oct. 5th 4-6 pm.
789 Ross Street
3137 TAMU Langford, Building A
College Station, TX 77843
The FotoFest Biennial 2022 takes place on September 24 – November 6, 2022 in Houston, Texas at Art Alley at Sawyer Yards in Arts District Houston and throughout the city of Houston.
Foto Fest exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Karen Navarro’s work is featured in this issue of EXIT examining portrait typologies. Read below for a description of the issue:
There are hundreds, thousands and millions of portraits floating around in our individual and collective memories: portraits from the history of art; portraits of famous people; of friends from yesterday, today and every future; of my family and all the families that ever existed; of delinquents in millions of police mugshots in every country in the world; everyday selfies; portraits of weddings, baptisms and birthday parties; of all the dead people we did not want to let go of completely… EXIT 87 Portrait Typologies is, precisely, an issue that brings together portraits from their widest diversity.
Fragmentation in portrait is present in Karen Navarro’s project, while Humberto Rivas brings us back to a more classical, black & white, portrait.
Central theme artists: Roger Ballen, Nancy Burson, Germán Gómez, Pierre Gonnord, Katy Grannan, Pieter Hugo, Bill Jacobson, Juan Rodrigo Llaguno, Nikki S. Lee, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Hellen Van Meene, Nelson Morales, Zwelethy Mthethwa, Karen Navarro, Catherine Opie, Humberto Rivas, Carlo Van de Roer, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Andrés Serrano.
“Argentine photographer Karen Navarro is an artist with a multidisciplinary background, mainly in photography and sculpture. Over the years, she has focused on topics such as identity and belonging, and is very good at creating portraits.
A few years ago, Navarro’s series “The Constructed Self” captivated me with its flamboyant colors. In my opinion, this series of portraits not only has aesthetic value but also triggers viewers to think about personal identity, self-expression and the image of people in the current social media age. Navarro tries to expand the boundaries of portrait photography through the combination of two-dimensional photography and three-dimensional sculpture.
As a young artist, Navarro’s work received worldwide attention. She was shortlisted for The 2020 Photo London Emerging Photographer of the Year Award and awarded The Houston Artadia fellowship. Her works have been exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston (CAMH), Lawndale Art Center, Elisabet Ney Museum, Melquig Fair in Amsterdam, Netherlands
(Melkweg Expo), Tigre, Argentina, etc., and published in international journals such as “Art News”, “The Guardian”, “Rolling Stone” (Italy) and “Vogue”. —Veronica Sanchis
América Utópica on Glasstire, Art Dirt podcast: “Watching the five-minute tour that Karen Navarro did, which is posted on Glasstire by the way, she’s describing her own relationship to racial identity not being white but also not really feeling ownership over having a darker complexion. It seems like in making the work she was trying to get a consensus or like looking for input from a greater audience like what is racial identity. The work is this beautiful grid patchwork of variations of skin tone and then the neon words America posted in front of it. And, it absolutely has a flag-like quality.” —William Sarradet.
Click here to listen to the podcast.
The Constructed Self is a collection of 14 puzzling portraits which utilise collage to represent the crossover of multiple themes that work to form our definition of identity. This body of work has been widely exhibited as physical sculptures and is now making its way onto the blockchain as digital assets. The artwork addresses self-representation, race, gender and belonging within first, second, and third-generation American immigrants.
4 pieces within the collection of 14 use a GIF format to introduce you to multiple configurations of the portrait. The GIFS swiftly flick through alignments resulting in the viewer pondering the permanence of identity. The primal goal of the project is to encourage the viewer to challenge their own biases by boldly highlighting the complexities that combine to make any given identity. The combinations are vast, which defines you?
Early investors will also receive an archive-quality physical print. Presale reservations for this collection are now open.
Virtual Opening and Artist Talk
Saturday, May 14 @ 12 noon (Central)
Join artist Karen Navarro in conversation with curator Allison Glenn for the virtual opening of América Utópica as she shares insight into her process of creating artwork and discusses her multidisciplinary practice that explores themes of race, migration, sense of belonging, and identity.
América Utópica is a visual art exhibition that features Navarro’s mixed-media “portraits,” including her neon abstract work, Shine America 2043. For this show, the Houston-based, Argentina-born artist also created a mural installation and made a LED-lit three-dimensional mixed-media artwork using obsidian stone called Somos Milliones (We are Millions).
Through a combination of photography, data, and text, Navarro creates her “portraits” using digital images of skin tones submitted by the public, ranging in hues from light tan, warm browns, or blush pinks to dark brown.
Register here to attend this virtual opening and artist talk via Zoom on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at 12 noon (Central).
NOTE: This exhibition will remain online until the closing date of Sunday, June 26, 2022. To visit the exhibition in person before it closes, request an appointment by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In partnership with IKE Smart City, the City of Houston unveiled the first in a series of digital interactive, wayfinding kiosks called IKE (Interactive Kiosk Experience) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, February 7, 2022, adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center on the corner of Walker Street and Avenida De Las Americas. With Mayor Sylvester Turner, Councilmembers, participant artist Karen Navarro and many other City stakeholders in attendance, the event marked the launch of a City-wide initiative to build smart city infrastructure that enhances the pedestrian experience for residents and visitors, while adding vibrancy to Houston’s urban landscape.
The interactive kiosk displays works from Navarro’s series Ámerica Útopica and The Constructed Self. When touching the screen a QR code appears next to her piece “Shine America 2043” and invites people to take part in her project by submitting a form and an image. The artworks were curated by Allison Glenn, critically acclaimed curator recognized for her powerful work in merging art and public spaces.
Navarro was awarded the Support for Artists and Creative Individuals (SACI) grant to continue developing her work America Utópica.
The grant provides funds of $15,000 for specific projects that create and present new works of art or complete work already in progress throughout the city of Houston. SACI grants are funded by the City of Houston via the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT).
CLICK HERE to learn more about the project.
(Houston, TX | November 11, 2021) – Artadia, a nonprofit grant making organization and nationwide community of visual artists, curators, and patrons, is pleased to announce that Verónica Gaona, Jessica Carolina González, Robert Hodge, Cindee Travis Klement, Karen Navarro, and Preetika Rajgariah have been selected as the 2021 Houston Artadia Awards Finalists.
This year’s Finalists jurors were Natalie Dupêcher, Assistant Curator of Modern Art, the Menil Collection; María Elena Ortiz, Curator, the Pérez Art Museum Miami; and Jami Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art, Hood Museum of Art. Click here for full press release.
“WHETHER IT BE IT THROUGH A STAGED OR DOCUMENTARY LENS, women have harnessed the power of photography and created their own narratives. From Cindy Sherman’s imaginative self-portraits to Deana Lawson’s celebrated depictions of the African diaspora, portrait photography, in particular, has been core to keeping file and capturing the essence of an image’s subject.
Here are three women artists in Houston that might change the way you understand portraiture.
Argentine artist Karen Navarro uses portraiture to examine identity as a social and cultural construct. She pushes beyond the conventions of classic portraiture by deconstructing and reassembling images to create a collage effect. Her most recent series El Pertenecer en Tiempos Modernos (Belonging in Modern Times), explores the way social media impacts our self-perception. The printed photographs are embossed with words of popular internet hashtags. “ Amarie Gipson from Houstonia Magazine
The Constructed Self was chosen as one of the Top 10 in the LensCulture Critics’ Choice 2021. How were the Top Ten chosen? Photographers who were selected by more than one critic or had the highest cumulative ratings of all submissions became the Top Ten. They will each receive a $1000 grant in recognition of their work in addition to having their work published in a photobook and being permanently exhibited on LensCulture website.
“Karen Navarro’s practice explores ideas of selfhood as a social and cultural construct. By transforming two-dimensional prints into sculptural objects, Navarro at once dismantles the essentialist idea of fixed identities while photographically offering her subjects the opportunity to reconstruct their own through her playful and kinetic process. Employing vibrant colors and patterns and geometric constellations, Navarro’s work mimics the shape-shifting nature of identity.” – Alona Pardo
“Fragment” has been shortlisted for The Royal Photographic Society IPE 163. Over 4000 photographers submitted work to the International Photography Exhibition open-call during 2021. Explore a selection of images from the shortlists here.