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HONEY with Lily Baker
Naranjo 141, Mexico City. 2023

Magnolia (Detail)
Watch Queen
Orchid (Detail)
Organ Donor
Intruders (Family)
Intruders (Blue)
Lebanese Blood
Pierced Gladiolus

NARANJO 141 is pleased to present Honey, a two-person exhibition of new works by Bayo Alvaro (b.1992, Mexico City-based) and Lily Alice Baker (b.1998, London-based). This exhibition will be Baker’s first presentation in Mexico, and will mark the gallery’s first exhibition with both Alvaro and Baker.

Honey considers questions of gender, the emotive qualities of gesture, and the joys—and traumas—of interpersonal relationships. Employing considerable skill in figuration, color and space, Alvaro and Baker craft a shared humanlike visual language that finds a constantly evolving rhythm in the space between material beings. Elusive figures posturing, dancing, and embracing on painted canvases find companionship in hanging, sprouting sculptures. Abstract bodies struggling to liberate themselves from the grips of their fellow revelers are paired with the stems of botanical sculptures that find weightlessness despite constriction. Out of the two artists’ explorations into human exchange, an organic vulnerability emerges that is as fluid as it is virile—that captures the sweetness of honest self-expression alongside resistance posed by a consuming external environment.

Drawn from his experiences growing up, Alvaro’s practice explores the tensions inherent to a world pushing for binary constructs. Working within the grid, a symbol of a masculine power structure, Alvaro’s gestural lines contend with their material opposition. Bending metal into sinuous forms, he fights the rod’s will to remain linear; and dressing hemp rope with wax, he preserves a malleable form in containment. The resulting works record and conceal the intuitive relationship between artist and material: sometimes nurturing each other, sometimes evading each other, but always responding. The challenge of overcoming hard-wired preconceptions unfolds in this process of negotiation, and a dance between performativity and authenticity is carried throughout.

Text by Ben Adams-Keane

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