Karen Mainenti has had solo exhibitions of her work at the 2019 SPRING/BREAK Art Show, 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. She is currently at work preparing for a solo show at Ground Floor Gallery in Brooklyn (forthcoming in October 2019). Mainenti teaches at The City College of New York, as well as coaching others to find their own creative paths. Learn more at The Karen Mainenti Path.


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.