Astronaut's Success Puts Artist In Orbit
The Indianapolis Star
By Jane Allison
York -- Only a very unusual man named Umaña was artistically
ready for triple orbital life this week, when it finally became a reality.
because, like Glenn himself, Umaña has been a bit out of this
world to his wife Helen and a few other admirers for a long time. And
so it was no surprise to them that with roughly 160 art galleries all
jammed to the brim with notable concoctions of life as it may or may
never be, only the Jansen Gallery at 950 Madison Avenue, which carries
a continuing Umaña exhibit, was ready for the curiosity following
the epoch flight of the "Friendship."
they were ready with were a large number of water color, oil and ink
portraits of other planet landscapes and views soon to be gazed on by
Madison Avenue, which had exhibited interest but nothing wild, of course,
somehow found "Tenseless Time" and "Storm Freshened Earth"
and "Nostalgia In Space" and "Approaching Sun" and
"Ebbing View" and Earth Segment," to name but a few of
Umaña's "gate Into Space" exhibits, of utterly exciting
IS WELL that Umaña's art and John Glenn's monumental achievement
have strange separate orbits of their two lives, for though Umaña
has bee a prized addition to such homes as the Baroness du Rothchild,
Prince Felix Naryshkin and comedian Robert Q. Lewis, --to name but a
few--and in the museums of Toledo, Cleveland, Rutgers University, San
Francisco and others, still, those acquainted with his figures, his
flowers, his still lifes and, landscapes are not so many that more shouldn't
man from Ohio may possibly have brought the artist from Bogota, Colombia,
the audience, finally, that his art has deserved all along.
personally, Umaña's outer-space conceptions are not nearly so
intriguing to me as his flower arrangements. Those exotic, gloriously
shaped and colored flower are (in the words of a critic who didn't know
about Umaña's coming penchant for drawing the landscapes of the
planets) described this way:
are not taken out of this world (with them) but we sit down on the earth
with a poet to wait for the flowers to grow. This painter uses not tricks."
but Umaña does use tricks. Tricks with a paint brush in use eight
regular hours a day; tricks that come from a delightful marriage to
a miniature beauty now assuming most of the original Martha
Graham roles in the Martha Graham Dance
company; and tricks that come from a zest for life in its simplest but
most ultimate sense.
YOU WANT to call those tricks, they are the tricks of the thoroughly
Thoreauvian man. The man who has lived "simplify, simplify, simplify"
for so long, he now has nothing left but everything. And these he puts
on his canvas.
glories of color, the richness of the senses, the thrill of air and
sun, climate and compassion--everything Umaña is himself.
|Writes Leroy Leatherman of this artist:
took his instruction from cubism, but like any other serious
artist he uses it as his discipline, not his tyrant. He goes
from abstraction to representation, and works all the intermediate
stages with obvious authority and ease. The source of his authority
as an artist is his sensibility, his feeling which goes directly
to his canvas, the way all artists always pray it will. It rarely
happens, but when it does, it is delightful thing to encounter."