Gallery Wendi Norris is pleased to present Trust Memory Over History, artist Firelei Báez’s first solo exhibition at the gallery and the first time her work will be presented publicly in San Francisco. The exhibition will open on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 with a discussion between Báez and María Elena Ortiz, Associate Curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, followed by a public reception. Trust Memory Over History will be on view through March 5, 2016.
The works featured in Trust Memory Over History investigate socio-political movements of black resistance across the global diaspora. By illuminating underlying links between seemingly disparate experiences, Báez traces shared iconographical systems of rebellion, ranging from the Latin American azabache, to female resistance in 18th-century Louisiana, to 19th-century socialism, to the 1960s civil rights movement in the United States. On view will be paintings and drawings made this year, including select works from the artist’s recent solo exhibition at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art as well as new portraits and works from her ongoing series titled Carib’s Jhator.
Báez’s vibrantly-colored gestural paintings on paper and linen depict female subjectivity in its varied forms, through the tropes of patterned textiles and ornamented bodies. Patterns of Resistance, a large scale painting on paper, features a crumpled piece of what appears to be blue-and-white colonial toile wallpaper. Upon careful study, it becomes apparent that the imagery is in fact an amalgam of contrasting symbols. In her portrait series, Báez uses outlines of her own silhouette to communicate the figure of the everywoman, who has no discernible features beyond omniscient eyes that directly confront the onlooker. The Carib’s Jhator works are wildly colorful and patterned figurative paintings. “Jhator” refers to the Tibetian Buddhist sky burial, the ultimate bodily release; here, Báez presents an imagined Caribbean version.