Karen Mainenti
Medium: Drawing

Studio Location:
540 President Street (Spaceworks Basement)
Studio # 27

Website:: www.karenmainenti.com

Artist Bio:
Karen Mainenti is currently a 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Bard Graduate Center Library. She has exhibited at La Bodega Gallery and Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn; Gallery MC and the Society for Domestic Museology in New York; Guest Spot @ The Reinstitute in Baltimore Maryland; and the Cornell Museum of Art in Delray Beach, Florida. Her work has been featured on Hyperallergic, Gothamist, Brooklyn Magazine and BmoreArt. In 2014, her outdoor street art installation, DUMBO Underfoot, was exhibited at the DUMBO Arts Festival in Brooklyn, and she had a solo show at Chashama's pop-up gallery in the Garment District. In 2013, she attended the School of Visual Arts Summer Residency Program in Painting & Mixed Media and was a visiting artist at the Tulsa Girls Art School in Oklahoma.

Artist Statement:
My work is a frequent re-engagement of ubiquitous and overlooked materials such as toilet paper, supermarket circulars and makeup, as well as appropriated text and images from media. I look to reframe these messages, often with humor, to show the absurdity and unnatural expectations that society has come to accept as ordinary.

Subject matter informs my choice of materials as well as my process. I often use diverse media: collage to highlight contradictions; painting to isolate a word or image to force the viewer to consider its significance; sculpture to investigate the subtle implications of shape and form.

My work explores the central theme of feminine sexuality: the ways in which our culture and economy both productizes sexuality and sexualizes commercial products, particularly domestic products. I am drawn to exploring femininity, specifically, because of its exceedingly elusive construct and how it impacts our perceptions of ourselves, interactions with others, and cultural foundations.

My latest work is a series of graphite drawings which explore the similarities between the apologies made by men accused of sexual harassment as a result of the #MeToo movement and the fault-finding marketing claims commonly featured on women's beauty products. It struck me how unusual it was for a man to acknowledge his flaws, particularly in a public manner, and wanted to draw attention to this. I appropriate these repentant quotes from each man's statement and pair them with popular consumer products like Irish Spring, Barbasol and Speed Stick. Each quote is then given further context by using elements from the actual packaging design - "Maximum confidence! Feel clean and fresh!" - thus exposing the irony of such a juxtaposition.

All images and text copyright Karen Mainenti