BODIES AND LANDSCAPES ETERNALLY IN FLUX: CIELO FÉLIX-HERNÁNDEZ AT SARGENT’S DAUGHTERS
Sargent’s Daughters gallery presented Cielo Félix-Hernández’s solo exhibition sweet and sour, the artist’s Los Angeles debut and her second presentation with the gallery.
Featuring an entirely new body of work, sweet and sour continues Félix-Hernández’s exploration of her individual, familial, and cultural experiences of transition and transformation. Her saturated and atmospheric oil paintings depict moments of rest, care, and cultivation as antidotes to violence and repression.
Across the exhibition, solitary, iconic femme figures examine their own reflections in spaces of repose. Often surrounded by water or vegetation, they stride or recline, apparently in moments of private contemplation. Discussing this content in her work, the artist considers the multiplicity of impressions that she strives to capture: “In moments of care and discovery, the intersections of a street where both fear and excitement of seeing a familiar face, across the street, seeing your childhood home change, across an ocean, a home becoming rubble, and its concrete form being reused to remold an alternative home, leaving you displaced, alternatively searching, replanting seeds, sitting under the pouring rain, becoming a puddle”. Like a calm sea in the eye of a storm, Félix-Hernández’s figures depict moments of pause within bodies and landscapes that are eternally in flux.
The palette of the works recalls citrus fruits and ripe plantains, as the bright pinks, greens, and yellows seem to overflow the boundaries of the canvas. Some works in the exhibition do this literally, with satin fringe, hand-tied by the artist, extending compositions beyond their supports. These juicy colors and adornments pay direct homage to the artist’s familial home of Puerto Rico, the metaphysical setting of much of her work. Though bright, each individual piece appears nearly monochromatic, like photographs that have faded in direct sunlight, echoing the effect of memory on the images. In this way, sweet and sour filters the complexities of Félix-Hernández’s personal and communal experience into distilled moments of bittersweetness, producing a respite for both artist and viewer.
Cielo Félix-Hernández (b.1998, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico) is a Puerto-Rican transdisciplinary artist, living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Working primarily in oil paint, Félix-Hernández depicts figures who author their own narratives, constructed out of familiar Boricua and Caribbean iconographies.
Sweet and sour. Cielo Félix-Hernández’s solo exhibition.
Until December 21st, 2023.
Sargent’s Daughters. 538 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, United States.