Mateo Nava

Mixed Media

Artist Statement

My work explores issues of migration and displacement by picking at the history of decorative art and religious iconography in Mexico. Using mixed media and collage, I re-appropriate visual imagery that references maps, symbols, patterns, and language to create embellished images that indulge in and deconstruct colonial art. I often shy away from canvas stretchers and rectangular edges, instead using fabric patchworks and constructions as alternative painting surfaces. These techniques allow me to use painting as a form of installation, where intricate and layered compositions are not just images, but also places in themselves. 

I often use photographic source material taken from religious iconography, art, and history within my collages. I am interested in how the process of cutting and re-assembling relates to my subject matter. To me, these processes that are fundamental to collage are a way of visually thinking through the dissection, division, and dislocation present in Latinx history and the way that it shapes the conditions we live under today. At the same time, they are also a subversion of that history. Through cutting and reassembling, this iconography is undone and reinterpreted into an eclecticism that resembles the muddled identities we inhabit.

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