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.