James Cohan, New York, and Kavi Gupta, Chicago (DLG11)
Firelei Báez (b. 1981, lives and works in New York).
Firelei Báez reconfigures visual references drawn from the past to explore new possibilities for the future. By overlapping representational motifs, Báez carries portraiture into a space where subjectivity is rooted in historical narratives as much as it can likewise become untethered by them.
Báez presents a series of new paintings in which figuration, symbolic imagery, and calligraphic gesture are overlaid onto large-scale WPA architectural plans of historically-loaded sites in the American south. Questioning notions of past and present, mark-making becomes an entry point for a personal engagement with Afro-diasporic cultural re-memory—a means of situating subjugated personal memory and experience in dialogue with narratives of the Western tradition. What transpires when memory and history are put in conversation with each other? What generative spaces are created through this anachronistic act?
Firelei Báez will hold solo exhibitions in 2019 at at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; The Mennello Museum of Art, Orlando; James Cohan, New York; and the Modern Window at MoMA, New York. She will hold group exhibitions at the High Line, New York, Para Site, Hong Kong, and the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco.