New York, NY
January 7 – February 5, 2022
Sargent's Daughters is pleased to present nieta, the first New York solo presentation of Cielo Félix-Hernández, a Brooklyn-based painter and interdisciplinary artist. Working primarily in oil paint, Felix-Hernandez draws on memory and aesthetics derived from cultural legacy to reflect her lived experience as a trans-femme Boricua. Her exuberant palette and detailed, referential compositions draw viewers in to a space of care, resilience, and joy.
The roots of Félix-Hernández’s paintings are autobiographical, referencing an upbringing caught between the island of Puerto Rico and the mainland of the United States. They contain traces of the past which express the artist’s diasporic roots, as well as those of her mother and grandmother. The exhibition’s title, nieta (granddaughter), serves to highlight the importance of generational ties, especially across geographical distance. For Félix-Hernández, this familial warmth and positive identification is in contrast to the disruption and instability generated by the colonization of Puerto Rico by the U.S.
Grounded in this familial legacy, the paintings expand into the realms of the imagined and the possible. Many of the works and their fringed borders are dyed using aqua de jamaica, a hibiscus tea and an organic material that ties the artworks to the natural world. Living matter is studded throughout the works; plantain trees, chickens, and other flora and fauna burst through cracks in pavement, overtaking adverse surroundings and generating new futures.
Other objects, such as purses, long hair, and acrylic nails are drawn from the artist’s current life and inspirations. These are most often worn by the feminine figures who recur throughout the paintings and exists as an icon of self-fashioning and self-care. Her activities, though quotidian, are rendered iconic through swirls of pink light. For Félix-Hernández, she represents an expansive transfemme future that exists beyond the confining narratives of coloniality and marginalization.
Artnet News | February 1, 2022
Artsy | January 26, 2022
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ArtDaily | January 10, 2022
NADA Miami 2022Cielo Félix-Hernández | a place to rest my palms
Booth #4.07 with Sargent’s Daughters
Ice Palace Studios, Miami, FL
November 30 – December 3, 2022
Sargent’s Daughters is pleased to present a place to rest my palms, a solo presentation of paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Cielo Félix-Hernández. Working in oil on canvas with satin-fringed borders, Félix-Hernández has produced a new body of work specifically for NADA Miami, marking her art fair debut.
The “palms” evoked in the title of the presentation have a dual meaning: they reference both the branches of plantain trees that dot Félix-Hernández’s homeland of Puerto Rico, as well as the ideal of embodied respite for the artist and her community. Plantain fronds, groups of chickens, and stylized transfemme figures are all depicted performing rituals of ease and creativity. Rendered in a passion fruit palette of saturated, sour greens and yellows, the works reference nostalgic details from the artist’s life – her mother’s first car, the Powerpuff Girls, her grandmother’s garden. These talismans of familial history offer a sense of care and protection that extends beyond the figures and into the landscape itself.
For Félix-Hernández, the concepts embedded in a place to rest my palms are deeply spiritual. Rain and ocean water connect bodies across generations to the earth, linking the artist to her Taíno ancestors. As she writes, “Soft kisses from the sky are rain drops, landing and absorbing themselves into the concrete-ground, the ocean, and the power of queer and trans people convening at coasts and beaches, where liberation takes form through community.” Warm, ripe, and juicy, these paintings evoke euphoria through transition, granting viewers glimpses of a transcendent space.