"Sometimes I start from a figure and it mutates into something else, into an abstract composition. I just go by my instincts. If I feel like adding a face or an eye or hands, I go with that." - Uman with Chris Martin, The Brooklyn Rail, 2023.

Uman’s self-taught practice is not miraculous, but a rare fusion of instinct and discipline. Her gut sensibilities are rooted in the ritual of painting every day, teaching herself to generate both incrementally and monumentally. She feels that, “When I am painting, I know exactly what I am doing,” a declaration of confidence in a lifelong effort dedicated to developing her style and voice. Uman is committed to the limitless realms of her mind’s eye, just as her artwork is a throng of paradoxes—instinctive yet formulaic, lucid yet complex, and crafted from infinity, but nevertheless complete.


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.

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