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Firelei Báez: Patterns of Resistance

Sep 25, 2015 – Jan 16, 2016

Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting Winner, 2015

UMOCA is pleased to present the 2015 Catherine Doctorow Prize For Contemporary Painter winner Firelei Báez in her solo exhibition, Patterns of Resistance.

Tracing the history of social movements in the United States and the Caribbean, Patterns of Resistance presents a series of new works by Firelei Báez (b. 1981, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic) inspired by lineages of black resistance. Best known for her large-scale works on paper, Báez makes connections that further our understanding of diasporic experiences by interweaving the lives of 18th-century black women in Louisiana and the Cuban roots of the Latin American azabache, with symbols used in the U.S. during the tumultuous 1960s.

In Patterns of Resistance, Báez merges past and potential histories to illuminate obscured narratives of identity. Primarily focusing on female figures and their subjectivities, Báez’s paintings and drawings depict textiles, hair designs, and body ornaments that link traditionally loaded symbols with individual human gestures. Through a labor-intensive process, Báez’s rich and intricate compositions reveal new emblems of power and invoke disparate patterns of resistance within the African diaspora.

About the Artist

Born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, Firelei Báez received a B.F.A. from The Cooper Union’s School of Art in 2004, participated in The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2008, and later received an M.F.A. from Hunter College in 2010. She has held residencies at The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace, The Lower East Side Print Shop and The Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace. Her recent exhibitions include Bloodlines at the Pérez Art Museum, Miami (forthcoming 2015); A Curious Blindness at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University (2015); and Concealed: Selections from The Permanent Collection, Studio Museum in Harlem, NY (2015).  Baez’s work has been written about in The New York Times, The LA Times, Artforum, Art in America, New American Paintings, The Huffington Post and Studio Museum Magazine. In addition, she was a recipient of the prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award as well as the Jacque and Natasha Gelman Award in Painting.

About the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting

UMOCA and the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation give out the prize every two years to an emerging or mid-career painter whose work expresses a great range of talent and forward thinking within a contemporary idiom. The prize is named in honor of Catherine Doctorow, a prolific painter in the 1950s and 1960s.

The prize includes a cash award of $15,000, and a solo exhibition of her work at UMOCA, 20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, from Sept. 25, 2015, through Jan. 16, 2016. Báez was selected by a jury of art experts, who looked at nominations submitted by leading curators, critics, gallerists, historians and teachers from all over the country.