Mateo Nava

Region: South

My work explores issues of migration and displacement through the history of decorative art and religious iconography. Using mixed media and collage, I reappropriate imagery that references maps, symbols, patterns, and language to create embellished images that indulge in and deconstruct colonial art. I often shy away from 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 places in themselves.

I often use photographic source material taken from religious sources, art, and history within my collages. I am interested in how the process of cutting and reassembling relates to my subject matter. These processes that are fundamental to collage are a way of visually thinking through the dissection, division, and dislocation present in Latinx history. They are, at the same time, a subversion of that history. Cut and reassembled, this iconography is undone and reinterpreted as an eclecticism that resembles the muddled identities we inhabit.