Artist Karen Navarro uses images of crowdsourced skin tones and data to create mixed-media demographic portraits that are central to her national art project entitled “América Utópica. The public is invited to participate in this ongoing project by submitting digital photographs of their skin (arm, hand, or face) at https://www.karennavarroph.com/home. Anyone can submit regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, geographic location, gender identity, disability, economic status, and/or any other diverse background.
WATCH & LISTEN TO NAVARRO’S ART TALK! While Navarro and Allison Glenn, a curator and art writer, spoke on May 14, 2022, here is your chance to VIEW IT ON DEMAND during May 25, 2022 through June 26, 2022. In the video, the artist discusses her multidisciplinary practice and shares insights into her artistic process and her work, which speaks about race, migration, sense of belonging, identity within communities, and exploring her own ancestral Indigenous culture.
SEE HER EXHIBITION! Navarro’s Houston edition of her “América Utópica” project is on view May 14, 2022 through June 26, 2022. To visit the exhibition in person before it closes in Houston, request an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A focal point of the exhibition is an installation designed to depict the diversity of Houston entitled “Hechos del Mismo Barro (We are Made of the Same Clay),” a photographic mural composed of color squares ranging in hues from light tans to warm browns, blush pinks to dark browns. Hundreds of skin-tone images submitted by participants were rendered by the artist into four-inch square tiles and arranged in order of how they were received to avoid hierarchy. By reducing skin tones to colored squares, the artist sought to convey the similarities and erase the differences as people. Navarro intends to replicate this work in different cities as her project expands nationwide.
Also on view is her neon large-scale work “Shine America 2043” and a LED-lit three-dimensional mixed-media artwork made using obsidian stone called “Somos Millones (We are Millions).” To tie in her own life experience and connect with her Indigenous identity, the artist used language and specific materials from Latin America, too.
“América Utópica: Houston” is funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Karen Navarro is an Argentine-born multidisciplinary artist currently living and working in Houston. Navarro works on a diverse array of mediums that includes photography, collage, and sculpture. Her image-based work and multimedia practice investigate the intersections of identity, self-representation, race, gender, and belonging. Navarro has won numerous awards and grants for her mixed-media photography and has been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad. To learn more, visit www.karennavarroph.com.