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
Navarro’s work is now available through PxP Contemporary. PxP Contemporary is an online platform which connects collectors with high-quality, affordable artworks.
Check Navarro’s collection here
Karen was recently interviewed about her series “El Pertenecer en Tiempos Modernos” by Haley Berkman Karren on Houston Center for Photography’s SPOT Magazine.
“I think I made this work to break some rules in the photography world and to challenge the medium. This series is a point of experimentation for me as well—an introduction to sculpture, which is something I want to explore in the future. I want to push the boundaries of not only photography, but my art practice as well. I feel like this thinking aligns with the Cubist mentality because Cubism was drastically breaking away from existing modes of thinking.”
Read the full interview here
Karen’s work will be included in Aint–Bad’s No. 14 annual publication. Aint–Bad is an independent publisher of new photographic Art. The Issue No. 14 showcases over 150 leading contemporary photographers from all over the world within 256 pages. This publication will act as a record of the best photographic work being made today.
Now you can buy some of the pieces from the series “El Pertenecer en Tiempos Modernos” on Artsy through Foto Relevance