There’s a new mural in town! 18 of them to be exact. Introducing WindowWorks, a public art initiative brought to you by the Downtown District. WindowWorks showcases the diversity and creativity found across The Lone Star State by transforming vacant and inactive storefronts along Main Street through bold, vibrant designs. In partnership with UP Art Studio, the program features the work of 18 Texas-based visual artists including Karen Navarro’s photography work. Check out Art Blocks to plan your self-guided tour.
Karen was recently invited to jury the Artadia Fellowship Houston 2020 and to continue to be involved in the program by being a mentor for the new rounds of fellows.
Read more about Karen’s recent Artadia fellowship and her role as a mentor on page 50-51 of ARTnews Spring issue 2020.
Claire Selvin wrote:
Karen Navarro was named a Houston Fellow just a few years after moving there from Buenos Aires, and will be a mentor for the program in 2020; she said the arrangement serves an important purpose in one of the most diverse cities in America. “It’s always good to have people who nurture your career,” she said. “Having recognition from a prestigious organization not only gives you validation; it motivates you to keep working more, because you know that the work you do– if you work hard– pays off.”
Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses
March 6–June 7, 2020
Karen Navarro is pleased to announce her participation in Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses, the first museum exhibition with a conceptual focus on the late Houston hip hop legend DJ Screw. The exhibition explores visual arts practices that parallel the musical methods of this innovative DJ and feature unconventional photography and new media works by artists with personal ties to Houston, including B. Anele, Rabéa Ballin, Tay Butler, Jimmy Castillo, Jamal Cyrus, Robert Hodge, Shana Hoehn, Tomashi Jackson, Ann Johnson, Devin Kenny, Liss LaFleur, Karen Navarro, Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud, Sondra Perry, and Charisse Pearlina Weston.
The exhibition opens on the evening of Thursday, March 5, 2020 with a Members Preview from 6–7PM and a public opening from 7–9PM. The exhibition will remain on view through Sunday, June 7, 2020. As always, admission to CAMH is free.
Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses is a two- part interdisciplinary exhibition orbiting around the legacy of the late Houston legend DJ Screw. He produced his namesake sound, “chopped and screwed,” by using two turntables to slow down and layer hip hop tempos. The hallmarks of this technique—reducing pitch, slowing tempo, distorting input, and chopping lyrics to produce new meanings—have become synonymous with Houston hip hop, earning DJ Screw the nickname “The Originator.” Despite his untimely death at age 29 in 2000, the DJ and leader of Houston’s Screwed Up Click continues to influence artistic genres around the world.
In their photo-adjacent practices, the participating visual artists appropriate, mash-up, collage, and mutate photographic inputs, in addition to slowing time. Slowed and Throwed contends that remixing “sampled” materials is a radical aesthetic act utilized by both artists and musicians. Through reconfigurations of sourced and original materials, the featured artists draw attention to inequities stemming from race, gender, and sexual orientation, suggesting new possibilities and alternative realities.
Slowed and Throwed is curated by Patricia Restrepo, Exhibitions Manager and Assistant Curator, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, with guest curators Big Bubb, Owner of Screwed Up Records & Tapes, and ESG, rapper and member of the Screwed Up Click. The exhibition is also made possible through the assistance of Research Advisors Julie Grob, Coordinator for Instruction and Curator of Houston Hip Hop Research Collection at the University of Houston Libraries, and Rocky Rockett, independent hip hop educator.
Read more about the show here.
In the news:
Spring’s best museum shows celebrate the influence of daring experimentalists.
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s show immortalizes the late musician in his hometown.
FotoFest at CAMH gets Chopped and Screwed.
CAMH’s new show is screwed up—and that’s a good thing.
Top 5 | March 5, 2020 | Slowed and Throwed sits at #1
Karen Navarro announces gallery representation by Foto Relevance
For immediate release: 23/01/2020
Houston, Texas, January 23, 2020 – Karen Navarro (www.karennavarroph.com) is pleased to announce her representation by Foto Relevance (www.fotorelevance.com) in Houston. Foto Relevance exhibits contemporary photo-based art and provides a platform for an innovative selection of American and international photographic artists pushing the boundaries of photography. Foto Relevance is located in the Museum District in the Gallery Building at 4411 Montrose, Houston.
“I look forward to working with Foto Relevance, Geoffrey Koslov and Bryn Larsen, its founders, and owners, who are prime players in the Texas photographic world,” says Navarro. “The Gallery has established itself as one of the most relevant in the photography art scene in Houston. I am excited about this new collaboration.”
About the artist
Karen Navarro is an Argentine-born multidisciplinary artist currently living and working in Houston. Using a diverse array of mediums that include photography, collage, and sculpture, Navarro’s image-based work centers around the topic of identity. Trained as a fashion designer and photographer, the artist studied at the University of Buenos Aires and completed the certificate program in photography at Houston Center for Photography. Her constructed portraits are known for the use of color theory, surreal scenes, and minimalist details.
Navarro’s work has been exhibited in the US and abroad. Selected shows include Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH); Lawndale Art Center, Houston, USA; Elisabet Ney Museum, Austin, USA; Melkweg Expo, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Houston Center for Photography, Houston, USA; and Museo de la Reconquista, Tigre, Argentina. Navarro’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including SPOT Magazine, Aint—Bad, Lenscratch, and Vogue Italia.
Navarro was awarded a scholarship from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Glassell School of Art in 2018 and an Artadia Fellowship in 2019. Her series El Pertenecer en Tiempos Moderns (Belonging in Modern Times) was selected for Photolucida’s 2019 Critical Mass Top 50. Recent projects include a public art commission from the City of Sugar Land and the curation of Alternate Pathways, a local exhibition at the Union TX sponsored by the Houston Arts Alliance and Fresh Arts.
The City of Sugar Land has collaborated with community partners to create an outdoor and online exhibition celebrating its history and people. The project features oral histories and fine art portraits taken by regional artist Karen Navarro.
This project will be added to Sugar Land’s historical archive and it celebrates those with compelling connection to the early history- and modern history of Sugar Land. The 30 participants have a particularly compelling connection to Sugar Land—perhaps they are a community leader, business leader, civic leader, long-standing resident or have a unique perspective of the history of the City.
For this project the City has partner with the Fort Bend Historical Commission and the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation , and the project was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Alternate Pathways’s opening reception took place yesterday at the Union TX with a turn out of over a hundred people in attendance. Alternate Pathways is an exhibition co-organized and co-curated by Karen Navarro and Luisa Duarte. It is funded in part by the City Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs through Houston Arts Alliance. And, it’s a sponsored project of Fresh Arts, a non-profit arts service organization.
Surpassing Limits through Alternate Pathways by Surpik Angelini. (excerpt)
For the first round, Navarro and Duarte invited a mixed media artist, Celan Bouillet; a painter of sculptural shaped canvases, Eduardo Portillo; and an artist and illustrator Hedwige Jacobs to join them in this project, thus bringing together representatives from three countries as distant and different from theirs as the US, El Salvador and The Netherlands.
Beyond the issues of “displacement, attachment to place, imaginary homelands, place making, the construction of identity and belonging,” which the group identified as a common ground, I believe that the way they surpassed the limits of the Modernist aesthetic inherited from the past, seems to speak to a grander scheme of things, while it also underlies their work in more significant ways.
Surpassing limits rather than simply choosing alternate pathways may seem inconsequential at first, but in my mind it helps focus our attention to how the artists have responded to two opposing forces impacting the development of contemporary art in the last twenty-five years. Globalization alone fostered an intense traffic of culture from the First World to developing countries, or simply from centers to peripheries, carrying with it, in all instances and everywhere, the imposition of Modernism as a lingua franca in the arts. The second force shaping the art of our times is a phenomena called “the ethnographic turn” since the 90”s, which injected local flavor, subjective specificity, and more importantly, a meaningful historical and cultural contextualization of the art produced in different parts of the world. The result of these two seminal forces is that most contemporary works today embody artists’ own micro narratives which counteract the master narrative prevalent in Modernist forms of expression. Therefore, with this framework in mind, I would like to address how each one of the artists in the present exhibition contests the inherited Modernist cannon in their own art.
To make images appear and disappear, to simulate and dissimulate visual effects through constructive and deconstructive methods would describe Karen Navarro’s artistic process. Her departure from stereotypical photographic portraits of her subjects is rendered by cutting and reassembling their facial features, intervening them with superimposed geometric matrixes. Her deconstructive methods make images almost unrecognizable, reaching invisibility at times. Navarro’s work implies that identity is in fact a social construct, as she parodies the digitally deforming effects of apps like Snap Chat, face changer, faceapp, all of which fulfill the growing need of people to be recognized, or to be accepted in a certain social category, symbolized by their obsessive use of hash tags.”
Navarro’s series El Pertenecer en Tiempos Modernos (Belonging in Modern Times) was selected for the Critical Mass TOP 50 (2019). Critical Mass is an annual online program that makes connections within the photography community. It is ran by Photolucida, a non- profit organization that support and promote the work of emerging and mid-career photographers.
Through a pre-screening process, the field is narrowed to a group of 200 finalists who go on to have their work viewed and voted on by over 200 esteemed international photography professionals. From the finalist group, the Top 50 are named and a series of awards are given. See the series here
Alternate Pathways Opening Reception OCTOBER 19, 2019 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM | 2315 Union Street, Houston, Texas 77007.
Alt Projects is pleased to present Alternate Pathways, an artist-centered and driven group exhibition. An event that highlights the diversity of both Houston and the artists involved. The show will feature the works of visual artist Luisa Duarte, mixed media artist Celan Bouillet, fine art photographer Karen Navarro, painter of sculptural shaped canvases Eduardo Portillo, and artist and illustrator Hedwige Jacobs.
Opening reception RSVP here
The show runs until November 22th, by appointment only.
Artists talk and brunch: Sunday October 27th, 1-3 PM at the Union. Free and open to the public.
Read the new interview on CREATE! magazine about Karen’ studio practice. CREATE! magazine is an independent, contemporary art magazine highlighting the work of artists, makers, and creative entrepreneurs.
What is your process like?
“Usually, everything starts on the sketchbook, then I pay a visit to the warehouse to buy some painting to paint the backdrop wall. After that I go to the thrift store to get some clothing and some props to prepare for the photo shoot. In my performative photographs I create characters, for this reason I meticulously arrange the elements in the scene. Although, while in the photo shoots I allow myself to get creative and try new things, I don’t stick entirely to the sketchbook.
Since my work is evolving and I am working on new mediums, like collages and soon sculpture, my process changes according to the work I am doing. For example in my last series of collages “El Pertenecer en Tiempos Modernos” I added laser-cutting, 3-D printing, and embossing.”
Read the full interview here