The World According to Federico Uribe

June 2 – August 26, 2018

Colombia-born, Miami-based artist Federico Uribe creates creatures and playful installations from everyday objects. Finding beauty in books, colored pencils, wood fragments, and shoes and transforming them into animals and natural environments, Uribe creates an immersive and whimsical landscape. By using objects in surprising ways, he rethinks reality – seeing and incorporating objects as materials. For the Woodson Art Museum, Uribe creates a large-scale, site-specific, walk-in environment – thought-provoking, yet brimming with whimsy and joy.

Uribe’s effusive, exuberant sculptures of animals and scenes are fanciful transformations of everyday objects reimagined and reconstructed in unexpected, often witty ways – designed to delight. Carefully cut colored pencils become a giraffe, wooden crutches convey a crocodile, telephone cords convert into a sheep’s curly fleece, tennis racquets morph into a camel, white electric wires represent a ram’s coarse coat.

Exhibition Highlights

Federico Uribe, Giraffe, 2014, colored pencils; installation photograph from Transformart, 2016, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe, Giraffe, 2014, colored pencils; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe with his Transformart installation, 2016, at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe, Camel, 2014, antique tennis racquets; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe, Horse #1, 2010, laminate wood scraps; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe, Horse, 2016, leather saddles; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe, Black Panther, 2017, bullet shells; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe, Fox, 2014, bullet shells and cartridges; photograph courtesy of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Federico Uribe, Piano Woman, 2015, piano keys and parts; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe with his Beetle, 2012, boat parts and surf boards, from Transformart installation, 2016, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe, Giraffe, 2014, colored pencils; photograph courtesy of Adelson Galleries, Boston
Federico Uribe, photo by Marco Inzerillo

Uribe infuses some sculptures with incisive irony through the materials he chooses to use. He turns books into trees, shoe leather into animals, measuring tapes into pigs, and bullet shell casings into bunnies. This juxtaposition of items and concepts – often in startling ways – is a theme Uribe weaves into his meticulously assembled sculptures.

Uribe’s work, however, is not designed to promote any particular ideology; instead, he wants the imagery of his experience to resonate with viewers.

Although Uribe now lives in Miami, he remains deeply rooted in his native Colombia where he says beauty and art have immense healing potential in a country torn by more than fifty years of war. According to his artist’s statement, “the ability to turn destruction and death into peace and beauty is for Federico a way of reconciliation with life. His work and his art are the expression of an incredibly culturally rich and diverse nation striving to overcome clichés, to heal its wounds, and to look with hope into the future.” As he wrote in a 2015 online article, “. . . as a recurrent intention in my work, I encourage the viewer to discover, beyond the sole function of an object, an underlying symbolic and aesthetic reality where life overcomes death and beauty supplants destruction.”

Uribe’s goal is clear: “I’m more interested in making people smile, rather than telling them what to think,” he says. On the opening day of the exhibition at the Woodson Art Museum, Uribe leads a gallery walk and shares insights about his work on Saturday, June 2, 1-2 p.m.

The World According to Federico Uribe, an installation by Federico Uribe, was coordinated with assistance from Adelson Galleries, Boston, and Woodson Art Museum curator Andy McGivern.

Thanks to the members, donors, grantors, and sponsors who support the exhibition and programs.

The Samuels Group, Environments, and Wausau Homes are presenting sponsors of The World According to Federico Uribe. Programming support comes from 5 Koshas Yoga and Wellness.   Exhibitions and programs are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Marketing supported in part by City of Wausau Room Tax funds. Paper donated for the Uribe installation comes from Domtar. Support for hands-on art-making supplies comes from the Walmart Foundation.