Cody Umans: ECLIPSE
March 17 - April 7, 2019
Opening reception: Sunday, March 17, 5 – 8 PM
Collaboration with the artist: Sunday, March 24, 2 – 4 PM
Closing reception: Saturday, April 6, 4 – 6 PM
6BASE is pleased to present Cody Umans: ECLIPSE, an exhibition on view March 17 through April 7, 2019. Marking the twelfth exhibition in the space, ECLIPSE is New York-born artist Cody Umans’s first solo presentation in the city, and will include eleven new and recent monochromatic paintings. A group presentation organized by Umans of works made by fellow artists and friends will also be on view to accompany the show.
In his work, Umans engages with, and responds to, his surrounding environment. He is drawn to individual sculptural objects that populate the city we live in and is inspired by the personal connections with people he meets. Although his compositions representing objects and people gathered from his daily life are rendered with a degree of realism, he never paints from photographs; instead, he works in an immediate, freeform method of drawing and then makes paintings of the drawings. The artist notes, “I often stare at the negative space between forms and wish to bring that shape forward. While my imagination contextualizes in the language of drawing, my visions of artworks often combine sculpture and painting.” Umans often paints on discarded canvas or panels, but more frequently he uses found metal signs as his surface. This material features irregular surfaces that lend a more or less sculptural quality to the paintings.
Most recently, Umans has used books that are significant to him as both a source and subject for his paintings. Included in ECLIPSE are five paintings depicting pages from the black-and-white street photography book Brassaï, Paris de Nuit, originally published in 1932, a copy of which was passed down to Umans from his grandmother. He is interested in portraying the book as a still life in and of itself, as he explores the urban landscapes of Brassai's Paris and compares them with contemporary New York.
As an artist, Umans has always been interested in the human figure. Also on view in ECLIPSE are a number of portraits, executed in grayscale, of people who are close to him. Expand (2018), the largest work in the show, is a portrait of his father fishing. Originally drawn in a small sketchbook from the shoreline of a bay, Umans later enlarged the composition to a painting that depicted the scene as well as the sketch book as an object.
To complement his solo exhibition, Umans has invited a number of fellow artists and friends to make monochromatic works. Participating artists include Tim Buckley, Ben Brown, Francesca Clerjeune, Esther Chang, Matthew Cole, Jesse Keating, James Lepkowski, Jessi Li, Amanda Lucia Côté, Jess Underwood, and Miles Tickler. This additional presentation further highlights Umans’s interest in understanding his surroundings and giving space to the visual fabric that informs his work. It also demonstrates the communal aspect of his practice. On March 24 and throughout the exhibition, he will be inviting artists to collaborate with him on a project in the space.
Cody Umans was born and raised in New York City where he currently lives and works. He attended Skidmore College and received his B.F.A. from School of Visual Arts in New York, where he was the recipient of the Silas H. Rhodes Academic Scholarship. Umans has participated in group exhibitions included those held at 6BASE, Bronx, New York (2016) and SVA Gallery, New York (2012). In 2016, he organized two group shows One Wall Art Show at Dardy Bar, New York and Classy Screens Group Show at Leftfield Bar, New York. The artist has created a number of zines, such as Safety Zone (2016) and See Yew Later (2015), which are both available at New York’s Printed Matter, Inc.