Surprising Sculpture Installation on View at the Woodson Art Museum

Wausau, Wisconsin: This summer’s immersive installation of colorful, assembled-object sculptures by Miami-based artist Federico Uribe opened June 2 at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. For his site-specific installation, The World According to Federico Uribe, on view at the Museum through August 26, Uribe created a large-scale, walk-in environment – thought-provoking, yet brimming with whimsy and joy.

Uribe’s effusive, exuberant sculptures of animals and jungle 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.

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. Leather suitcases are reconfigured into a donkey titled The Immigrant. This juxtaposition of items and concepts – often in startling ways – is a theme Uribe weaves into his meticulously assembled sculptures. “A happy and sometimes disconcerting association of materials and ideas,” his website states, “. . . results in ironic, benevolent provocation.”

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 “I Turn 1000s of Bullet Shells into Animal Trophies without Killing a Single Soul,” 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 the artist, was coordinated with assistance from Adelson Galleries, Boston, and Woodson Art Museum curator Andy McGivern.

Also on View from the Museum’s Collection

Throughout Dynamic Designs: The Serigraphs of Anne Senechal Faust, on view through February 17, 2019, vibrant silk-screens affirm Faust’s mastery of the medium and her knowledge of and affinity for birds and their habitats. A devoted and widely traveled birdwatcher, Faust’s artwork conveys a sense of place achieved through her experience as an artist and close observer of the natural world. Honored by the Woodson Art Museum as the Birds in Art Master Artist in 1999, she was the first woman and the first printmaker to receive this recognition. Anne designated the Woodson Art Museum as the repository for her artistic oeuvre, representing a commitment by the artist to ensure the Museum’s collection includes each of her screen-prints.

Hands-on Programs for All Ages Make Exhibition Connections

Programs for all ages include themes from Federico Uribe’s sculpture and Anne Senechal Faust’s serigraphs. All ages explore and create sculpture from everyday objects in Art Park, the Museum’s interactive family gallery, which will be temporarily relocated to the west gallery this summer during Art Park renovations. Visitors will discover a transformed Art Park in the lower level in September.

Summer highlights include:

  • Artist Federico Uribe’s gallery walk on opening day, Saturday, June 2
  • Sculpture Garden Yoga, Art 101, and Hands-on Art programs during Night Out @ the Woodson on the first Thursday of each month in June, July, and August
  • A three-part Screen-Printing Workshop for teens and adults, June 22-24, led by artist Anne Senechal Faust
  • “Creative Creatures” Summer Art Sessions for children in July

For details about these and an array of other Museum programs, see details below and check the online events calendar.

Gallery Walk with Federico, Saturday, June 2, 1-2 p.m.; artist Federico Uribe talks about his vibrant, inventive sculptures animating the galleries this summer.

During Art Park Open Studio on the first Saturday of each month, 1-3 p.m., all ages drop in for hands-on art making inspired by artwork on view in the galleries.

Adults participate in Sculpture Garden Yoga this summer– if weather permits these outdoor-only sessions – led by a 5 Koshas Yoga and Wellness instructor, 5:30-6:30 p.m., during Night Out @ the Woodson on Thursdays, June 7, July 5, and August 2. Please register at Bring a mat or blanket. Sessions will be cancelled if weather requires; watch the 5 Koshas Facebook page for updates. During Night Out @ the Woodson on first Thursdays this summer, adults learn something new during Art 101, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and all ages drop in for Hands-on Art, 5:30-7 p.m.

Art 101: Faust Serigraphs, on Thursday, June 7, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and Wednesday, June 20, 12:15-1 p.m., features insights into Dynamic Designs: The Serigraphs of Anne Senechal Faust and the serigraphy process from curator of collections Jane Weinke.

SPARK! programs for individuals with memory loss and an accompanying friend or family member on June 14, July 12, and August 9, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, offer social interaction in the galleries, followed by a hands-on art activity; call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

During Toddler Tuesdays on the third Tuesday of each month, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, little ones, 18 months-4 years, and accompanying adults drop in to sample art making and interactive play in Art Park. During an Extra Terrific Toddler Tuesday on July 17, drop-in family yoga sessions will be offered in the sculpture garden – weather permitting – in addition to art-making stations.

In a three-part screen-printing workshop for teens and adults, Birds in Art Master Artist Anne Senechal Faust leads participants in creating original, two-color serigraphs in an edition of ten on Friday, June 22, 4-7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Total fee: $85 for members, $100 for non-members. All materials and lunch on Saturday and Sunday provided. For more information and to register, call 715-845-7010. A grant from the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation supports this workshop.

Check the events calendar and call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register for Art Time for Tots, Art 4 You, and Art Babies programs offered during the last week of each month this summer.

During Art Kids: Mask Making on Thursday, June 28, 4:30-6 p.m., children, 5-12 years, create whimsical masks from repurposed materials; call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

Art 101: Uribe Gallery Walk on Thursday, July 5, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and Wednesday, July 18, 12:15-1 p.m., features a discussion of The World According to Federico Uribe with Museum educator Catie Anderson.

“Creative Creatures” Summer Art Sessions will be offered for children ages 5-8 on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 10-11, 9 a.m.-Noon OR 1-4 p.m., and for children ages 9-12 on Thursday and Friday, July 12-13, 9 a.m.-Noon. In the spirit of artist Federico Uribe’s artwork, summer art session participants will create animal sculptures by repurposing familiar and unexpected objects. Participants will explore Uribe’s exhibition, experiment with materials, and make design decisions to create their artwork, which will be presented in a “Material Menagerie” exhibition, on view August 2 through August 20. Fee: $25 for Museum members, $35 for non-members; all supplies and materials included. Call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

During Treasuring Memories, on Wednesday, July 25, 1-3 p.m., children, teens, and families coping with the death of a loved one create memorial art for a garden, walkway, or special space of remembrance. Participants may bring small mementos to incorporate into the project. This free event offers the opportunity to share memories and reflections of loved ones. Questions? Call Amy Kitsembel at the Aspirus Grief Center, 715-847-2703. To register, call the Museum at 715-845-7010.

Art Beyond Sight, on Saturday, August 11, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, is designed for individuals with low vision or blindness. Participants join Museum educators for a multisensory exploration of the galleries followed by hands-on art making inspired by Federico Uribe’s sculptures. Call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.


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.

Links to artwork images: To see low-resolution images, click on or link to the The World According to Federico Uribe, the Dynamic Designs, and the the Fowl Play: Decorative Cuck Decoys exhibition webpage image galleries. To request high-resolution artwork images to accompany news or feature articles for print, email

For more information about the Woodson Art Museum, check the events calendar at, e-mail the Museum at, call 715-845-7010, and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Woodson Art Museum Hours
Tues–Fri 9am–4pm
First Thurs of each month 9am–7:30pm
Thursdays during Birds in Art 9am–7:30pm
Sat–Sun Noon–5pm
Closed Mon & holidays, including New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas

Admission: Always Free Admission
Phone: 715.845.7010
Location: 700 N. 12th Street (Franklin & 12th Streets), Wausau, Wisconsin 54403-5007

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