To experience all the things that may happen there
Firelei Báez transports us to the fantasy world that she has cultivated over the past decade. Baez’s practice is anchored by her interests in anthropology, science fiction, and black female subjectivity, which she uses to construct new diasporic narratives. The stories she offers in a adroitly intermingle the eccentricities of her subjects and articulates a distinctive approach to figuration as seen with the splendid bouquet that adorns the figure’s crown in To Experience All the Things That May Happen There.
– Larry Ossei-Mensah
Rendering her subjects in complex layers of pattern and imagery, New York-based artist Firelei Báez casts cultural and regional histories into an imaginative realm, where visual references drawn from the past are reconfigured to explore new possibilities for the future. In exuberantly colorful works on paper and canvas, large-scale sculptures, and immersive installations, Báez combines representational cues that span from lavish textiles and wallcoverings with colonial-era floral motifs, to calligraphic patterns, hair textures, feathered headdresses and beaded jewelry. Often featuring strong female protagonists, Baez’s portraits incorporate the visual languages of regionally-specific mythology and ritual alongside those of science fiction and fantasy, to envision identities as unfixed, and inherited stories as perpetually-evolving. These empowered figures’ eyes most often engage directly with the viewer, asserting individuality and agency within their varied states of flux.
– Courtesy James Cohan Gallery