The Constructed Self - PhMuseum

The Constructed Self

Karen Navarro

2019 - Ongoing

United States

My work is informed by my experience of being an immigrant and the ways in which I see identity as a cultural and social construct. Through unconventional portraiture and still life imagery, my multimedia practice investigates the intersections of identity, self-representation, race, gender, and belonging. Using digital photography as a foundation, I transform traditional prints into three-dimensional, visual objects by cutting and incorporating tactile elements such as wood, paint, and resin. The labor-intensive techniques I apply to create these sculptural objects not only allow for a physical deconstruction of my images but also become a form of meditation that reflects my efforts in trying to reconstruct and make sense of my own identity.

At once colorful and minimal, my constructed portraits are meant to invite viewers in while touching base on sensitive issues. Diversity and equality are very important considerations throughout my work, which features a diverse range of subjects portrayed in similar manners. To refer to my subjects’ constructed identities and their multiple layers, each individual’s face is often depicted hidden, dissected, or blurry. These interventions reference elements from cubism and surrealism, genres in which I find an unexpected kind of magic and strange beauty. Through my practice, questions of identity sometimes take a philosophical turn.

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  • Fragment, 2019
    Archival inkjet print, wood panel, acrylic paint, Epoxy
    48 x 56 in

  • Twisted, 2020
    Archival inkjet print, wood, acrylic paint, epoxy, metal rope
    18 x 52.5 x 18 in

  • Subject #12, 2019
    Laser-cut embossed archival inkjet print
    18x14 in

  • Twisted ll, 2020
    Archival inkjet print, wood, acrylic paint, epoxy, metal, gesso
    24 x 34 x 24 in

  • Subject #1 variation 1, 2020
    Laser-cut embossed archival inkjet print
    18x14 in

  • Subject #8, 2019
    Laser-cut embossed archival inkjet print
    18x14 in

  • Puzzled variation 1, 2020
    Archival inkjet print, wood panel, acrylic paint, Epoxy
    36 x 50 in

  • Subject #7, 2019
    Laser-cut embossed archival inkjet print
    18x14 in

  • Fragment, 2019
    Archival inkjet print, wood panel, acrylic paint, Epoxy
    48 x 56 in

  • Left Fragment, back Subject #6 variation 1 vinyl, right Puzzled


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