UmanSeptember 11–October 24, 2015 320 West 13th Street
White Columns is proud to present the debut solo exhibition by the New York-based artist Uman. The exhibition surveys Uman’s practice since 2012, and includes work in painting, sculpture, and assemblage.
Visceral and poetic, and rooted in specific autobiographical experience – a childhood and adolescence spent in Kenya and Somalia, and a subsequent migration to the United States – Uman’s work provokes a complex set of questions concerning memory, identity, and gender: ultimately suggesting that such constructions remain fluid, constantly in flux.
A self-taught artist, Uman’s work embraces both folk and outsider-ish mannerisms, especially evident in the precise use of found or scavenged materials and supports – e.g. a dog’s blanket, animal bones, a discarded rug, or the seats of long-abandoned chairs, the latter of which adopt anthropomorphic qualities taking on the form of a human torso or portrait-like masks.
In the paintings ‘House 1’ and House 2’ (2013-14), where domestic space is reduced to a skeletal armature, the institution of ‘home’ is depicted as a precarious or even elusive notion. Other large-scale, ostensibly abstract paintings – typically painted on bolts of un-stretched linen or cotton – are informed directly by the seasonal aesthetic (and psychological) shifts of the landscape in upstate New York where the artist is currently based.
Uman (b. 1980) lives and works in upstate New York, and is affiliated with the ‘137 Artists Collective’, a New York City art studio established by Annatina Miescher a Swiss-born, New York-based practicing psychiatrist. Uman and other artists affiliated with ‘137AC’ collaborated with the artist Bjarne Melgaard on exhibitions at New York’s Ramiken Crucible gallery and London’s Institute of Contemporary Art (both 2012). More recently Uman’s work was included in the group exhibition ‘Art Brut, The 137 Artists Collective’ at Biancasforni Studio, New York (2015.)
To learn more about 137AC visit: www.137AC.org
White Columns would like to thank Annatina Miescher for the introduction to Uman’s work.