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Artist Karen Mainenti

Karen Mainenti

Brooklyn, NY, USA


Karen Mainenti's work is often a re-engagement of appropriated text and images from consumer products, advertising and media. By reframing these messages—often with humor—she attempts to reveal the absurdity and unnatural expectations that society has come to accept as commonplace. She is specifically drawn to exploring gender identity, because of its exceedingly elusive construct and the ways it impacts our perceptions of ourselves, interactions with others and cultural foundations. Her “Me Too Boutique” series of graphite drawings explore the parallels between apologies made by men accused of sexual harassment and the fault-finding marketing claims routinely displayed on consumer products for women. By highlighting these mea culpas from formerly powerful males, she aims to draw attention to how rarely expressed such public admissions are from men regarding their flaws. She creates her "Color Me Beautiful" text-based paintings by carefully stenciling the familiar yet ridiculous names of common lipstick shades against a matte, plush background of the color they represent. She uses bold color and evocative typography to draw attention to the absurdity and insinuation in each shade of lipstick. Mainenti has had solo exhibitions of her work at the 2019 SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Ground Floor Gallery, The Bard Graduate Center Library, The Society for Domestic Museology and Chashama. Select group exhibitions include the Untitled Space, DUMBO Arts Festival, La Bodega Gallery, Trestle Gallery, Guest Spot @ The Reinstitute in Baltimore and the Cornell Museum of Art in Delray Beach, Florida. Her artwork has received coverage in ARTnews, Artnet News, Hyperallergic, Gothamist, Brooklyn Magazine, Gallery Gurls and The Believer Magazine, among others. In 2018 she was an Artist-in-Residence at the Bard Graduate Center Library.

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