Artist captures women’s faces

Justin San Diego

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Johanna Uribes’ series of portraits illustrate beauty in aging process

Close-up paintings of women’s faces by professional artist Johanna Uribes will cover the walls of the Carmen Castellano Fine Arts Center Gallery at San Jose City College until March 28

These paintings are all part of her collection The Terrain Project, which is also the name of the exhibit..

“My intent is to show beauty in the so-called imperfections of an aging face,” Uribes said.

Facial details such as hair, wrinkles, moisture and dryness are easy to see because of the framing and use of light and shadows in her pictures.

Uribes interviewed the women in her paintings and learned about important issues they dealt with before painting them.

Their issues, struggles and accomplishments are captured in their portraits.

“A woman talked to me about giving birth to a dead child,” Uribes said. “The woman had not spoken about it for more than 30 years.”

There was a reception at the art gallery on the opening day of the exhibit, March 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. where the artist talked to attendees.

“When drawing faces, it is all about light and shadows,” Uribes said.

There are 17 contemporary paintings, mostly 36-inch squares, of acrylic on canvas displayed in the art gallery.

Uribes said she made 32 paintings for the collection and has 10 more that are in progress. She said she only works on series now, so all of her paintings are part of a larger collection.

“I thought they were photographs until I got really close and saw the brush strokes and coloring,” said Carolann Espino, 35, fine arts major. “The textures of skin tone and eyes in her work blew me away.”

Uribes attended Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco’s Art Institute. She has more than 30 years of experience as an artist, and is now training to be a wine steward.

Uribes is doing a seminar that involves students forming groups and answering 12 questions about aging and beauty that she asks all the models in her paintings.

She said she hopes to produce something personal and theatrical, similar to “The Vagina Monologues,” but with paintings.

The paintings are uniquely unframed. Uribes said this is because she wants her work to travel in and out of exhibits, and it is easier to move art without the frames.

Visit to view the full collection of Uribes’ Paintings. Her work is also available for purchase in the art gallery.

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Gallery Hours

Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon.