February 11 - 26, 2005
Opening reception: Friday, February 11, 2005
(5 - 8 pm)
Gallery Hours: Saturday & Sunday 2 - 6pm
and by appointment call: 610.664.2030

The works shown in this exhibit are sketches and watercolors that served as designs for murals that Ana Uribe has created for the Philadelphia's Mural Project. These sketches and drawings provide insight into understanding the methods this artist has used in creating her murals.

Ana Uribe who was born in Colombia first came to Philadelphia in early nineteen-seventies to study at the Moore College of Art. After living in Colombia for many years she returned to Philadelphia where a chance meeting with Jane Golden of the Philadelphia Mural Project resulted in an opportunity for her to become a mural painter. During the past six years she has painted 17 murals in Philadelphia.

A selection of photographs of some of Uribe's Murals by photographers Laurence Salzmann and W. Keith McManus, as well as a video, are included in this show.

Artist Statement

I have been painting since I was six years old. As a child my mother enrolled me in Saturday art classes at the Academia de Mariela Ochoa in Medellin, Colombia. Mariela Ochoa was a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and had been a student of Thomas Eakins. I began my university studies at the University Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellin where I studied architecture. In 1972, I came to Philadelphia to study at Moore College of Art and graduated with a BFA in sculpture and printmaking in 1977.

I returned to Colombia in the early 1980s. My interest in nature and the landscape came both from the training I received in classical landscape painting, and from my childhood spent on a ranch in the Cauca region of Colombia. Colombia has an incredibly diverse geography and is quite literally a landscape painter's dream. However, in the 1980s, the political and social climate in Colombia became very volatile; after my life was threatened and my mother kidnapped, I decided it would be best for my then nine-year-old son and me to move to the United States. I still had friends in Philadelphia from my student days at Moore and so returned to live in Philadelphia. I was very fortunate that Jane Golden, director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, saw one of my paintings and asked me to work as a mural painter for the program.

My paintings often reflect scenes of nature that I remember from my own country. Inasmuch as they are based in my paintings, my murals are also inspired by the natural environment in which I grew up, but they also incorporate images of the natural and built environment in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program was founded in the early 1980s as a means of beautifying and raising social awareness in city neighborhoods gravely effected by post-industrial blight and social inequity. My murals for the program often bring together city walls left bare by the demolition of neighboring buildings with the brilliant colors and dense natural life of my homeland. These murals provide both me and the residents of the city with a view from another world.

It's a thrill to confront a canvas of gigantic dimensions (that is what the walls are for me), having a small sketch in my hand that has many possibilities coming from a mixture of research, memories, and other people's desires and requests. In this way my painting serves to become the voice for the community. As a painter working on murals in Philadelphia's inner-city neighborhoods, I feel as though I am helping to restore people's hopes by providing social empowerment for the people where my murals are situated. Of the 17 murals I have completed, the four I painted with the help of motivated and talented neighborhood children were the most rewarding, and give me the most pride.

Painting is a way of life for me, one that I would not change. I do not question my calling; painting is my life's joy, my eternal love, my path. As a landscape painter and a muralist I especially enjoy working outdoors with all elements of the natural environment. I have spent hours painting at peace without being aware of anything except for the light and color. Like any craft, painting is mastered by doing it all the time. My aim as a painter is to be the best painter I can be. In my painting, I am trying to obtain the feeling of completeness that I find in nature. Nature mixes colors, forms, shapes, and is real, universal and unselfish. I like to think of my art work as a joyful dance to the greatness of nature, and of the way I paint as a reflection of the optimism and energy inside of me.

Ana Uribe(l) talking with Happy Fernandez(r)

Jane Golden(r) - Director Philadelphia Mural Arts program(r)

Ana Uribe addressing the group at her show's opening.

Ann Northrup(l) discusses the RIT show that W. Keith McManus(r) is curating this coming spring at Photo West Gallery.
Ana Uribe - Philadelphia - February 2005