Federico URIBE


Federico Uribe was born in Colombia in 1962. He studied at the Universidad de Los Andes, in Bogota, Colombia. In 1988-1989, he went to the State University of New York to study a master-of-fine-arts degree under the supervision of Luis Camnitzer. In 1990, he attended the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. It was the beginning of a journey that included years of studies and work in Cuba, Mexico, Russia, England and finally Miami. Uribe has been the recipient of several grants from the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, Art Center of South Florida, The Delfina Studios Trust in England and Ciudad de Mexico He has exhibited in International Art Fairs, such as Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Chicago, FIAC/Paris, ARCO/Madrid, and Art Miami. He has shown his works at the Chelsea Art Museum (New York), the Bass Museum of Arts (Miami), the Art Museum of the Americas (Washington, DC) and the Jacksonville Museum of Arts (Jacksonville, FL). He had several solo shows and participated in collective exhibitions in significant international galleries such as Annina Nosei Gallery (New York), Galerie Patrice Trigano (Paris), Galeria Angel Romero (Spain) and Jacob Karpio Gallery (Miami). Federico Uribe is a conceptual artist resorting to the language of pop art through the use of objects of daily life, but with a formal reference to the history and tradition of classical art. His works adopt a hybrid character that creates resistance to classification. Uribe began his artistic career as a painter working in trompe l'oeil, anguished religious painting that explored the connections/prohibitions between his devout Catholic upbringing, pain, guilt and sexuality. Following a seven year stay in Mexico, Uribe's work expanded with an enhanced sense of confidence which helped him to evolve to a new plane of artistic expression. He abandoned painting and started collecting items from the street vendors, everyday objects in which he saw not just utilitarian value but the aesthetic decisions that went into their creation. He bought baby bottle nipples in varying colors, rubber kitchen gloves, dolls, party forks and chairs from which he created sculptural installations that turned the objects on their head, altering their meaning and function. What had been simply utilitarian objects became items of beauty- cacti were made from the hands of dolls; trowels and other garden tools were transposed into palm trees; screws, coins rubber lips and computer keys became women's torsos whose punning titles revealed Uribe's deep connections to language and literature. The painterly influence remained strong in his use of color and the sense of depth and space of his bas reliefs made from pencils or shoe laces. Surprise and sensuality are key objectives of his work. To achieve this purpose, Uribe inserts his work in the tradition of the artisan. He developed and mastered several embroidery-like techniques of studding with these everyday objects, each one representing a new and unexpected challenge due to its physical characteristics designed for a different intent. This art-making is a labor-intensive, repetitive and almost compulsive process essential in order to re-envision how the Nature, the human body and these ordinary objects of today's culture are perceived. By recombining materials and ideas in such an obsessive and radical manner, Uribe introduces irony into both the technique and the meaning. He induces the metamorphosis of items used in daily life into a new object that has a different significance, appearance and texture that once we get past the “wow” factor of the work, seduces and entices the viewer to caress and physically experience the completed work. Humor, beauty and love are essentially what remain in the memory of the viewer of Uribe's work. For an artist who comes from a country that has been at war for almost half a century, this achievement is a way of reconciliation with life: “I have the hope,” says Uribe, “that people who relate to my sculptures and live with them, will see the love I put into them. I want people to feel that I do this with a lot of careful attention and the purpose of beauty. I give my life to my work and I want people to see it.”