Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nicolas Uribe

Nicolas Uribe (born 1977) is a contemporary figurative artist who currently resides in Bogotá Columbia.
His images feature multiple figures of the same model, their form often from multiple view points. Interestingly, the subjects face is often created with little significance, sometimes covered or obscured. The pose is always of central importance. Nicolas Uribe’s style has made progression from his artworks dated from 2004. In these earlier works, figures appear ghost like, being painted with grey light values. The subject gives the impression of being barely there, shifting between vision and emptiness, captured fleetingly. The underlying beauty of his paintings lies in his technical and imaginative proficiency. Nicolas is above all, an intelligent artist.

Título: Waterfalls
Oil on Linen
Size: 160 x 180 cms
Año: 2005

When asked about his portraiture work he replied “The concept of a likeness is also something I’m not really interested in. I would much rather paint a believable human being, that an empty likeness.”

FucsiaFunkPunk , 2009

I guess it’s an attempt to portray a version of reality not by making a single representative icon, but to find essence in repetition. The echoing rhythms that are produced by motion, or replication, or even duplication are very sensual elements that broaden the vocabulary of painting if you will. The small difference between shapes that only seem similar, create a sort of respiratory system where the painting breathes. It’s really very attractive. There are also many direct references in terms of manner, to photography and digital post processing. That initiative, coupled with a technical decision to incorporate wax into my paintings, led me to what you describe as ghostly. I find them to be very sexy paintings, where the tonal range is reduced and requires the viewer to make an effort and really observe the subtlety present in each painting.
In his more recent work from 2008, Nicolas juxtaposes elements of historical relevant artworks, painting over sections, altering their appearance.

Título: Venus
Mixed Media
Size: 100 x 140 cm
Año: 2008

"GO: What do you consider an artist's job, and/or responsibilities, to be, in a wider context? How do you see the role of the arts, particularly painting, in society, what can it uniquely offer?
NU: I actually feel very strongly about this, and I’ll be very blunt. I actually believe that even though the Artist may have the possibility to have strong social impact, or project a voice that can be heard, I believe Art is completely useless. It’s only purpose should be to create some sort of exchange between the work of Art and the viewer. It can communicate, reject, invite or simply avoid the viewer. And whether it provokes empathy, apathy, disregard, it does not have any impact on its nature nor quality. Art has never meant to be beautiful, or universal, or solve inequities of an unfair world. Art is made to be experienced, and whether its life is ephemeral or eternal is in the end unimportant."
The quotes come from an interview at
Another of Nicolas’ talents is in appropriation and reexamination of classical artworks, painting over the top of reproductions.

In the image below, the face of Jesus Christ has been appropriated, and a torso has been inserted, genetalia explicit, with the words love machine painting below. The image immediately confronts the viewer with it’s sexual frankness and the disproportionate head.

Título: JesusChrist!
Mixed Media
Size: 90 x 70 cm
Año: 2008

Oil on Linen
Size: 245 x 280 cm
Año: 2002-2008

In this image above, Nicolas paints the sensuality of skin with a series of twisting nudes, the many faceless women identity less.

Título: Coffee Break
Oil on Cardboard
Size: 75 x 50 cms
Año: 2007

Nicolas Uribe is a unique artist in the contemporary art scene, with some elements of abstraction and modernism in his work, with his classical/illustration background he creates artworks that are both bold and bizarre, contemporary and traditional. Nicholas is also an artist who understands presentation of artworks on the internet, his website features high resolution and low resolution photographs of his artwork so the viewer can get an impression of his artwork up close and at a distance, something that is often poorly done on artist’s websites. Nicolas remains one of the great new figurative painters of the 21st century.

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