Fei Li | The Unofficial History Of Tomorrow

First Street Gallery

Nov. 2, 2024 - Nov. 20, 2021

526 West 26th Street, Suite 209
New York, 10001
PHONE 646 336-8053


FIRST STREET GALLERY unveils the solo exhibition of recent paintings by Fei Li, The Unofficial History Of Tomorrow.

Comprising four mural size mixed media paintings, the exhibition examines social landscape and inherited trauma through the lens of painting tradition, street photography, myth, food, and sci-fi. Made in response to the pandemic-spurred violence against Asian women and the Black Lives Matter protests, the paintings pose as witnesses, testimonies and resistance.

Li works in abstract mode, layering color with fragments of acrylic paintings, banknotes, photo cutouts and the jetsam of daily life upon one another to communicate corporally with the anxieties of the social and political moment. Her paintings employ playfulness and abstraction to reveal the pain and destruction of daily life, while also recognizing the beauty and dignity of the marginalized.

One of the triptychs is titled I inherited many muscles and stories from my grandmother and mother. In the layered collage of associations that Li conjures, the focus moves from breasts made of money to eyes that are deep pools of noodle bowls. The body becomes the battlefield upon which oppression is played out, the body disintegrating in protest, and the body reconstituting on its own terms, Li’s art rupturing both form and content.

The paintings also explore the notion of Asianess in art. Li examines what heritage means alongside the inherent power attached to traditional systems. Her paintings seek to dismantle both the assimilation and the typecasting of Asian diasporic art in the west. She is interested in the underside – of patriarchy, of racial patronizing, of looking beyond the model minority obfuscation to bring the recondite to the surface. Not interested in easy answers, again and again she evokes the dialectic of weakness and care, of silence and strength, of myth and reality.

Born in Minnan, China, Fei Li lives and works in Brooklyn. She studied at the San Francisco Studio School and in 2012 moved to New York City. Her works have been shown internationally in museums and galleries, including the Katonah Museum of Art, Spartanburg Museum, Asian Culture Center in South Korea and Chinese European Art Center in China. Li is the awardee of numerous funded artist’s residencies, fellowships and grants including Yaddo; Jon Imber Painting Fellowship in Vermont Studio Center; Dumfries House (Scotland); Drake Arts Centre (Finland); The Alfred & Trafford Klots International Program (France); Kunstnarhuset Messen International A.I.R Program (Norway); City Artist Corps Grant and Queens Arts Fund New Works Grant. She is the founder of the collaboration platform Accented Projects.

See more of Fei Li’s work at www.feili.us

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