Recently, I had the pleasure of writing an essay for a new monograph on the contemporary Colombian artist Federico Uribe – whose haunting mixed-media paintings and sculptures draw on a difficult childhood, his complex relationship with Roman Catholicism and the violence of his homeland to explore issues of sex/gender, passion and the body, among others. Now the book is set to be released.
“Federico Uribe: Watch the Parade” (Skira, Tuesday, April 24, 208 pages, $50) originated with Manhattan’s Adelson Galleries, owned by Warren and Jan Adelson, who lived in the New York suburbs for many years. (Jan is the former chair of the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, where Uribe made a sensational showing in “Fantasy River,” a 2013 exhibit of his work.)
The book is edited by Bartholomew F. Bland, executive director of the Lehman College Art Gallery in the Bronx and former deputy director of the Hudson River Museum. (He continues his relationship with the museum as guest curator of “The Neo-Victorians: Contemporary Artists Revive Gilded Age Glamour,” through May 13.)
“Watch the Parade” also gives Uribe fans and newcomers alike an opportunity to explore the breadth of his interests, including a love of nature and a willingness to consider its shadow side.
My essay plumbs but one facet of an artist whose work is often located where many of us live – at the intersection of fear and desire.
In “Dangerous Love,” pictured here, note how the curving sensuousness of the male subject echoes the grieving lover in Anne-Louis Girodet’s “The Funeral of Atala.” The homoeroticism of Girodet’s works – and, indeed, of neoclassical (turn-of-the-19th-century) Paris – is apparent in the muscular, semi-nude mourner. By turning the subject into an object as well and adding a phallic serpent in his work, Uribe ups the homoerotic quotient considerably.
“Federico Uribe: Watch the Parade” is available here on Amazon.