Kevin Umaña “Wax and Wane”
David Richard Gallery
Sep. 29, 2023 - Oct. 22, 2021
David Richard Gallery is pleased to present Wax and Wane by Kevin Umaña, his first solo exhibition in New York and with the Gallery. This exhibition of 17 new artworks created during 2021 is part of a larger body of work comprised of five different, but related and interdependent bodies of works that differ by size, supports and media. The various bodies of work include: 1) seven large canvases made of acrylic and oil media that also include a range of additions that model and provide tactile and highly textured surfaces to the individual geometric shapes; 2) four smaller paintings that experiment with different supports, media and additions to the media as well as specific geometric shapes and compositions that have a direct dialogue with the larger paintings; 3) two flat-ish glazed ceramic wall pieces; 4) two hybrid paintings with additions of flat glazed ceramic fragments adhered to the canvas and integrated within the compositions; and 5) one painted, wooden, free-standing sculpture on a pedestal.
Wax and Wane is a seminal body of work for Umaña as it marks a significant transition in his studio practice at several levels: formally, conceptually, culturally and emotionally. All of the artworks are rooted purely in painting, the compositions are geometric and fill each support edge-to-edge. However, the exhibition focuses on three major changes in the artist’s approach and compositions. First is Umaña’s shift from a rigorous, precise execution of his compositions to a process-driven approach influenced by his experiences and experimentation with glazes and ceramics. This has affected his painting practice most notably in terms of color and surface. The second change is a move away from non-objective geometric abstractions derived from reductions, then amplifications and patterning of architectural details from location-specific buildings and bridges in cities meaningful to the artist to a practice now rooted largely in picture making. The new compositions are geometric representations of specific places and memories. The third notable change is bringing into his artwork the cultural influences from his family and youth while living in El Salvador. This includes strong influences of nature, beaches, plants, materials, food and religion.