MARY JO KARIMNIA Representation (2) Website CV
Memphis, TN | Painting, Sculpture, Mixed Media, Printmaking
Mary Jo Karimnia is an artist, arts administrator, curator, and arts activist in Memphis, TN. She earned a BFA at Stephen F Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX in 1986, exhibits regularly in group and solo settings in Memphis, Dallas and South America and received a first round ArtsAccelerator Grant in 2013. She curates artwork on a grassroots and a more professional level and is influenced by global artists through her travels and affiliations with artists from Bolivia. She currently works for Crosstown Arts doing creative, community-based projects and establishing a new residency program. She considers community arts advocacy and a cooperative spirit an important part of her practice.
The very, very small hole at the center of a tiny glass bead grabs light that filters in. When the beads on my artwork are intensely lit, the light passes through the rich color of the bead and down through the acrylic paint on the panel base, soaking up color at each level. This light reflects back through the beads, delivering an extra boost of color to the viewer's eye for an experience of curious intensity that can beckon from across a room.
I work from my own photographs in an intuitive way, selecting images that take on meaning as I work them. I photographer teenagers in costumes at cosplay conventions, dancers in Bolivia, the Catrina figure at a local Day of the Dead Festival, purposely omitting faces, preferring the anonymous nature of costumes. They allow us to explore personae, looking backward to a heritage or away toward a fantasy. Costumes can ease the transition of a teenager into adulthood. My images are non-committal. The individual could be a boy or girl, race is often vague and age isn't always apparent.
I layer techniques by photographing pleasing patterns, folding them into origami, photographing them again and then building beaded or embroidered images that take on a sense of magic through embellishment or by referencing the rich symbolism of tarot.
Much of my work is steeped in the feminine, both in terms of imagery and methods. I might work a favorite image in beads or print it large scale on a vintage sheet with a steam roller. When traveling I work on small vintage linen with embroidery thread. Even the idea of flitting through media feels feminine to me, like a mother tending to her various needy children.