Kavi Gupta is pleased to present a solo exhibition of original works by Firelei Báez. Báez is a Dominican-American artist whose work employs humor, figuration, and fantasy to explore the narratives and myths that affect the creation and expression of personal identity and social mores. Báez is interested in identity, culture, and the divisions humans create between each other. She was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, a city on the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The stark contrast between the poverty of Haiti and the abundance of the Dominica Republic is one element that permeates her work. When she was 10, her family moved to the United States. There, she encountered new racial and gender biases that challenged her to think about what identity means and how it separates some people and unifies others. Her work explores these themes in context with the narratives of the past and the many potential futures she perceives. The imagery she utilizes is figurative and in a way realistic, but it is imbued with fantastical elements that reveal the unseen aspects of character that define her subjects and inspire contemplation and introspection from viewers. Báez utilizes a variety of materials and processes in her practice. The scale of the work fluctuates between minute, intricate, time-consuming works on paper, to human scale paintings, wall hangings and sculptures, to large-scale installations.
In addition to the mature, harmonious visual language she has developed, which instantly identifies her work and calls attention to its themes, the elegance and exactitude she imparts onto everything she makes gives the work a unifying radiance.