Sunday, November 29, 2015

Firelei Báez

Last Sunday before heading to the airport Bill K, Julia Gfrӧrer and I walked from the Book Fair over to the Perez Art Museum of Miami. Arriving under it's roof just as the skies opened up in a momentary squall. Miami is unlike most other US cities in many ways, but in particular it feels much closer to Latin America than to the majority Anglo cities I usually inhabit. The usual categories and hierarchies of class and race and cultural niche just don't seem to apply there in quite the ways one is used to in Chicago or New York, San Francisco or Minneapolis. There is as much Spanish being spoken on the streets as English and the English is, likely as not, accented with Spanish and Creole. It's refreshing. The Perez Museum reflects this difference. For one thing the work seemed to reflect more social and political consciousness than its sister institutions around the country generally do. That can of course be a good or a bad thing depending on the artist. There were a lot of romantic and nostalgic stacks of dusty old found objects, for example, meant to evoke lost innocence and absence. But there was also Firelei Báez. The time spent among her drawings were a highlight of the trip, and a revelation. The first two images are life-size figures drawn and painted in gouache and watercolor on giant sheets of paper:

The rest are from this giant conglomeration of small drawings, most on found paper or with collaged bits:

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