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Sargent’s Daughters
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Cielo Félix-Hernández at Sargent’s Daughters

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Cielo Félix-Hernández’s paintings at Sargent’s Daughters are all rendered in vibrant sunset hues of pinks and oranges that make way for greens and blues — ombres across the gallery that suggest changing light and the passing of time. In several of the paintings, femme figures are depicted in domestic scenes or landscapes going about their day, their backs often turned away from the viewer in an act of refusal. In one, the figure sits in profile, gazing in a hand mirror, her reflection staring back as chickens flock around her. Many of the works feature string fringe protruding from the side of the canvas; a celebratory and decorative gesture that adds a sense of levity and celebration to the (at times) contemplative works.

Many of the scenes in the paintings recall Puerto Rico, where the Brooklyn-based artist was born — sun-dappled banana trees and free-ranging chickens populate many of her works. The more pensive figurative pieces are met with smaller paintings that hone in on various aspects of the landscape (the horizon of the ocean, chickens drinking water out of a low dish, a single banana tree), yet together the set of works have a dreamy quality. In one, titled concrete reprise, a line of chickens marches up a floating set of stairs that seem to levitate against a pink-lemonade-colored wash. Together they march off into the sunset, refusing the viewer’s gaze.

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Photo: Cielo Félix-Hernández, Caribbean Breeze No.3, 2023, oil and satin on canvas, 60 x 36 in; 60 x 36 in; 60 x 48 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Sargent’s Daughters.

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