Hauser & Wirth announces new collaborative partnership with Nicola Vassell Gallery to represent artist Uman
November 29, 2023
Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Marc Payot, Co-Presidents of Hauser & Wirth, announced today the gallery’s representation of the artist Uman in equal partnership with Nicola Vassell Gallery, New York.
In undertaking this collaboration on behalf of the critically admired Somalia-born, New York based painter and sculptor, Hauser & Wirth and Nicola Vassell hope to model a new kind of alliance between galleries operating at different scales—an approach wherein full transparency and intensive resource sharing can contribute to the further development of artists’ careers and the future health of the wider gallery ecosystem.
Both Nicola Vassell and Hauser & Wirth will present new paintings by Uman in their stands at the forthcoming edition of Art Basel Miami Beach (8 – 10 December). Their first jointly organized exhibition of Uman’s work will open to the public on 30 January 2024 at Hauser & Wirth in London, where the show will remain on view through 1 April 2024.
In October 2025, Uman’s first US museum solo exhibition will open at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut, curated by Amy Smith Stewart.
Uman’s ebullient visual vocabulary reflects her expansive cross-cultural experiences. Born in Somalia and raised in Kenya, she emigrated to Denmark as a teenager and later to New York as a young adult. Now living and working in upstate New York, Uman paints lavishly detailed, opulently colored worlds replete with gesture, geometry and evocations of the sublime. While these works are executed primarily with oil paint, she also combines acrylic paint, oil stick and collage techniques. An intuitive artist and voracious autodidact, Uman draws upon her memories of East African childhood, rigorous education in traditional Arabic calligraphy, deep engagement with dreams, and fascination with kaleidoscopic color and design. With nods to self-portraiture and fictional topographies, Uman’s paintings fluidly navigate in-between realms to explore both the physical and spiritual, intertwining abstraction, figuration, meditative patterning and a reverence for the natural world.
About the artist
Uman was born in Somalia in 1980. She moved with her family to Kenya in 1989 as a result of the Somali Civil War, before relocating to Denmark at the age of 13. From an early age, Uman loved to draw and was fascinated by color and illustration. In the 2000s, when in her 20s, Uman moved to New York City. There, she met Swiss-born, Manhattan-based psychiatrist Annatina Miescher, who encouraged the artist’s intuitive approach to painting and served as a mentor.
In 2015, Uman’s first solo exhibition opened at White Columns, attracting significant attention for her paintings, sculptures and assemblage works that dazzled with their unorthodox and wholly original approach to layering cross-cultural, art historical and textile-based references. As poet and critic Ilka Scobie explained, ‘[Uman] embodies a fluidity that transcends borders, genders, abstraction, and figuration’.
photo: Luigi Cazzaniga