Karen Navarro PHmuseum Limited Edition Print
Karen Navarro is an Argentine-born multidisciplinary artist living and working in Houston. Navarro works on a diverse array of mediums that includes photography, collage, and sculpture. Her image-based practice centres around the topic of identity, self-representation, and belonging. Trained as a fashion designer and photographer, Navarro studied at the University of Buenos Aires and completed the certificate program in photography at the Houston Center for Photography.
Her constructed portraits are known for pushing the boundaries of traditional photography, the use of colour theory, surreal scenes, and minimalist details. In 2019 she received the Houston Artadia fellowship and most recently Navarro has been shortlisted for the 2020 Photo London Emerging Photographer of the Year Award.
Her work has been exhibited in the US and abroad. Selected shows include Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, USA; Zagreb Biennale, Croatia; 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 ARTnews, The Guardian, Observer, Aint—Bad, and Vogue Italia.
Through unconventional portraiture, my multimedia practise 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 labour-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 colourful and minimal, my constructed portraits are meant to invite viewers in while touching base on sensitive issues. To refer to my subjects’ constructed identities and their multiple layers, each individual’s face is often depicted hidden or dissected. These interventions reference elements from cubism and surrealism, genres in which I find an unexpected kind of magic and strange beauty.I use photography as the basis for three-dimensional objects as a means to challenge our visual perception. Often implying that identity is, in fact, a cultural and social construct.