(American, b. 1960 in Mexico City, lives and works in New York, NY)
Claudia Baez’s paintings are animated by reverence for the history of Western art, rendered in a contemporary expressionistic vocabulary. In her most recent series Paintings after Proust (2013-2014), Baez engages in a conversation in paint with the work of some of the greatest artists from the past six centuries. She selects, re-creates, and adopts details from images catalogued by Eric Karpeles (himself a painter) in his book Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to “In Search of Lost Time” (New York, 2008). The monumental literary work, In Search of Lost Time, written by the French novelist Marcel Proust in 1909–1922, is one of the most profoundly visual works in Western literature. Proust mentions more than one hundred artists—from Bellini to Whistler—in the novel, referencing a great many of their works. Karpeles’ Paintings in Proust is a magnificently illustrated compilation of all the pictorial references that Proust made throughout his opus.
Baez, a longtime admirer of Proust, was inspired to create her own Proust-related series. The result of this thrice-sifted reimagining of cultural references through layers that engage the text and the image is very personal. Sometimes her compositions are richly developed and nuanced (Titian’s Portrait of Isabella d’Este); others are highly abstract and pared down, their forms rendered with daubs of color (Fra Angelico’s Coronation of the Virgin). Baez’s interpretation of Vermeer’s View of Delft is severely distilled compared to the highly detailed original; her rendition of Monet’s Rouen Cathedral is more Cubist than Impressionist. At times she merely suggests the essence of the original, as in her version of Velázquez’s La Infanta Maria Teresa.
In one of her earlier series, Claudia Baez has gone all out in her appreciation of Cindy Sherman’s work, appropriating her Film Stills. Baez’ work Untitled Film Still #7 (where is my pension fund?) was reproduced in ARTnews (Feb. 2012, p. 85).
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see attached pdf for exhibitions and bibliography: