James Cohan is pleased to present Americananana, an exhibition of new paintings by Firelei Báez, on view from October 27 through December 21, 2022 at the gallery’s 48 Walker Street location. The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist on Thursday, October 27th from 6-8 PM.
For over a decade, Báez has painted transcendent chromatic interplays of abstract gesture and symbolic imagery directly onto found maps and printed materials to disrupt the boundaries they serve to delineate. For her third solo exhibition with the gallery, Báez presents a group of immersive large-scale canvases that continue and deepen her ongoing exploration of narratives of Euro-American exceptionalism. In her vivid new paintings, Báez ruminates on the foundational mythologies that have come to form a uniquely American brand of nostalgia, one shaped by the projected desire for an idealized past that never was.
The exhibition’s title is a reference to Katy Siegel’s 2010 exhibition, Americanana, whose altered spelling of Americana was intended to “evoke the absurdity of European settlers using Indian words to name soccer clubs and suburban streets…or the countless other attempts in our culture to recover a lost past.” Through her world-building painterly interventions, Báez confronts these exclusionary streams of influence, decentering them with explosive, prismatic abstract conjurations intermingled with spectacularly constructed trompe-l'œil figuration.