In this work, braided limbs and branches unfurl into foliage upwards across a 1856 statistical map of France by Charles Joseph Minard that charts the flow of merchandise on railroads and waterways—grain, cotton, indigo—linked inextricably to the labor of enslaved people. Tangled into a caress, the two figures sprout appendages woven into the form of a money tree, signaling a call for nurturing and care linked to the prospect of a prosperous future. The painting’s surface is dotted with fist-shaped azabache pendants, also known as figas, worn in Latin American cultures as charms for protection.
James Cohan Tribeca, Firelei Báez, March 8 - April 25, 2020
Cosmo Whyte, "The Poetics of Opacity," Art Papers, Spring 2021. P10-11.