Tracy Xavia Karner is a visual artist and sociologist. She has a background in Painting, Textile Arts, and Photography as well as graduate degrees in Sociology. She worked for a number of years as a graphic artist and corporate art director before embarking on her academic work in Sociology.
She is the Director of Visual Studies at the University of Houston, a new interdisciplinary program that brings together visual experts from across the campus, links to Houston’s rich visual community, and enriches the intellectual opportunities for student education. She holds an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Houston where she teaches courses in Social Psychology, American Society, Qualitative Research Methods and Visual Sociology. Prior to coming to Houston, she coordinated a national demonstration grant that evaluated organizational development strategies among diverse service delivery models.
An award winning teacher, she offers workshops in creative processes, introspection through photography, and expressive painting. As a visual artist, she works at the intersection of painting and photography to explore issues of both internal and external vision. Introspective and evocative, her images offer new ways of seeing the familiar, the known, and the overlooked. She seeks what she calls “talismans and touchstones”—images that suggest a magical sense of the world. Seeking to capture moments of delight and nearly missed possibilities, her work captures the sudden and unexpected glimmers of enchantment found in life’s shimmers and shadows.