Born in Bogota, Colombia, Uribe lives and works in Miami. His artwork resists classification. Rooted in the craft of sculpture and paint, it rises from intertwining everyday objects in all possible and surprising ways, but still with a formal reference to the history and tradition of classical art.
Uribe studied art at the University of Los Andes in Bogota and in 1988 left for New York to study a master-of-fine-arts degree under the supervision of Luis Camnitzer. It was the beginning of a journey that included years of studies and work in Cuba, Mexico, Russia, England and finally Miami.
Initially his formation began as a painter with sensual and brooding canvases influenced by his dark reflections on the Catholic sense of pain, guilt and sexuality.
In 1996, abandoning his paintbrushes and attracted by the usually neglected beauty of simple objects in daily use, he began to observe them with care, collect them, set them side by side and combine them. They became unusual instruments of a new aesthetic, full of color, irony and lively playfulness.
Uribe creates sculptures which are not sculpted but constructed and weaved, in curious and unpredictable, repetitive and almost compulsive ways. They follow the classical canons of figurative and abstract art, but the result is absolutely whimsical, yet contains enormous efficacy and communicability. When observed from close, his works reveal various kinds of interpretations; invites us to touch them, to discover the detail and connection between one element and another. When viewed from further away, they offer volumes, forms, textures and color. Distance, proximity and perception are key factors in the interconnection between Uribe’s work and its viewers.
The title of his creations is very important to Uribe, because it reveals his deep connections to language and literature. “Most of my work is based on words”, says Uribe, “I sometimes start with a name and look for my objects, sometimes the object makes me think of the word, and I exploit it to create a work.” A happy and sometimes disconcerting association of materials and ideas leads their dichotomy to metamorphoses, guided by clearly defined conceptual procedures, and results in ironic, benevolent provocation.
Humor, beauty and love are essentially what remain in the memory of the viewer. 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.”