Using acrylic, gouache, ink, and graphite, artist Firelei Báez creates intricate portraits that blur the boundaries between abstraction, realism, and surrealism. Báez forms human figures with skin comprised of swirling bursts of color and pattern, while meticulously rendered strands of hair and piercing eyes anchor the vibrant abstracted shapes as people. In a statement on her website, the artist’s practice is described as “a convergence of interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women’s work; her art explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies.”
Báez was born in the Dominican Republic and now lives and works in New York, where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Cooper Union’s School of Art and Hunter College, respectively. She was recently commissioned by New York’s Metro Transit Authority to create an elaborate mosaic mural. The colorful multi-part work is part of a station redesign in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.
Báez has exhibited widely and her first solo show in the Netherlands is on view through May 12, 2019 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. You can keep up with her latest work and creative endeavors on Instagram.