Santiago Uribe- Holguin


Colombia, 1957

Santiago Uribe-Holguín has maintained, throughout his artistic career, a fascination for layers and the process of unearthing them. With this current work, he leaves behind his previous technique of combining oil, sand, and marble dust and in its stead, explores the delicate relationship between line and color through the technique of traditional oil painting. While in the past Uribe-Holguín sought to expose the layers underneath by eliminating the elements above, in these new pieces, he reveals them through the strategic use of color. Profound and abstract forms achieved through bold and intense colors converge delicately in order to become what renowned art critic Clive Bell referred to as “significant form.” To Bell, forms within an artwork can be expressive even when removed from any conceivable reality. In Uribe-Holguín’s work, the way in which the elements of line and color interact is evocative of a timeless aesthetic experience.

Santiago Uribe-Holguin ́s art is notably inspired by the Spanish Informalism movement, which had a tremendous impact in Latin America. Beyond that which was inherent in its initial foundation, this movement generated an interest in telluric matters, such as a deep geography, intricate landscapes closely related to the unconscious, and landscapes with closed textures reminiscent of Pompeian murals and of abstract forms that seek answers within a delicate geometry. Such origins, added to the free mixture of materials commonly used today, live on in the textures painted by Uribe-Holguin. They manifest themselves in abstract shapes and warm colors. In his work, texture is the protagonist. It reminds us of the earth’s skin, moist and volatile at the beginning, but then hardened into a beautiful rich surface. In this particular case, and due to a strong Spanish influence during his youth, his paintings harken back to those by Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies. The memory of surfaces, like the memory of things, life, materials and forms in space, finds in Uribe-Holguin’s work the spiritual value of daily acts; for the artist holds the belief that the course of life is a succession of modest happenings in which painting is a necessary act. Adaptation from Ana Maria Escallon’s text “The Memory of the Surface.”

One of the best abstract artists in Colombia, Uribe-Holguin studied in the UK and Spain. His work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally in galleries, institutions, and fairs. The principal museums in Colombia, along with outstanding collectors count his work in their collections.