Known as a painter, even though he exhibited photography at the beginning of his artistic career and a few times later, Antonio Ugarte finally opens to the public eye the big photographic archive he has built with his work for approximately forty years. This archive has been the source of many of his paintings: the nutrient of his thematic obsession. Ugarte has used photography as a tool for creating primary, primordial representations that he commonly recreates and re-elaborates as paintings afterward. Now, his photographic archive comes to us without transpositions to other art means: naked and pure, directly from the negative to the print in many images that confirm its artistic constitution, character, and spirit.
Artmedia Gallery is delighted to present the first exhibition based on Ugarte's photographic archive. The artist's particular vision and commitment to the photographic image are highlighted in the series on view. Composed of eloquent examples, this collection of pictures emphasizes the archive's distinctive features and Ugarte's passional photography practice.
The exhibition My Lonely Men. Photographs by Antonio Ugarte brings together images the artist has made in many places around the world over the years. A few of them are among his occasional studio practice products, but the absolute majority were taken outdoors in urban or sport practice settings. With a few exceptions, men are the protagonists in Ugarte's photography archive, as the exhibition's title indicates.
Ugarte shows a remarkable ability to create spontaneous and intuitive images that are, simultaneously, excellent samples of strong visual constructions. He also reveals a sensitive use of color when organizing his compositions: his most candid photos are combinations and relationships of colors. But the signature of his photography work is the erotic drive that, latent or openly, links his images. They commonly refer to a particular encounter between the photographer and an anonymous and lonely man. These chance meetings only exist in the photographs because they are fortuitous subjects of Ugarte's gaze.
About the artist
Antonio Ugarte (Venezuelan, lives and works in Miami, FL) started his artistic career in his born country. He studied drawing and painting and also received studio practices in photography and sculpture. Ugarte has exhibited his work in numerous group and individual exhibitions, mainly in Venezuela and the US, but also in Austria, Finland, France, Italy, Perú, and Spain. In 1984, he received the Drawing Prize at the 1st Biennial of Visual Arts, in Maracaibo, Venezuela. In 2012, his painting Transition received a Recognition for the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), Chapter Venezuela.
About the curator
Cuban-born, José Antonio Navarrete resided in Venezuela for two decades. He currently lives and works in Miami, Florida. He is a critic, researcher, and independent curator of art and visual culture, who recently began to practice art photography and video. His last published book was Escribiendo sobre fotografía en América Latina. Antología de textos 1925-1970, edited by Centro de Fotografía, Montevideo, in 2018. Currently, the Cuban Legacy Gallery at Miami Dade College is exhibiting his curatorial project Remaking Miami. Josefina Tarafa’s Photographs of the 1970s.
About the gallery
Artmedia Gallery was founded in 2012. With a location in Little River, Miami, Florida, the gallery has the mission to exhibit and promote contemporary art based on photography and video practices. One of the gallery’s central objectives is to explore the vast possibilities of the expanded notion of art through media technology.