Discipline: Mixed Media

Based In: NYC

Website: https://www.karenmainenti.com


My work is a frequent re-engagement of ubiquitous and overlooked materials—toilet paper, supermarket circulars, 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.


Karen Mainenti was recently 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, The Believer, Gallery Gurls, 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.