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James Cohan Online | Firelei Báez
March 5, 2020 - May 10, 2020
Explore Firelei Báez’s solo exhibition of new paintings in James Cohan’s online viewing room. Overlaying paint onto large-scale reproductions of found maps and documents, Báez casts diasporic histories into an imaginative realm, re-working visual references drawn from the past to explore new possibilities for the future.
UNTITLED (UNITED STATES MARINE HOSPITAL), 2019
Oil and acrylic on archival printed canvas
100 x 127 1/2 x 1 3/4 in
254 x 323.9 x 4.4 cm
The artist populates historically-loaded representations of space with change-making creatures—whose hybrid forms incorporate folkloric and literary references, textile pattern, plantlife, and wide-ranging emblems of healing and resistance—to present fictional alternative universes.
In an online video feature below, Báez speaks about the exhibition, her ongoing use of found book pages, and mythologies ranging from the Dominican ciguapa to the black Atlantis developed in the techno music of Drexciya.
“Painting is an incredibly generous medium that allows both the viewer and the maker to navigate between imagined and real worlds. In my paintings, there are massive movements of water, of me having to extend my body to create big, abstract gesture—and also very meticulously-rendered figuration. They are two ways of tracing me, as a painter, into this depiction of body: a melding of both the depicted illusory body and the materiality of my own presence.”