Mario Uribe

Born in Southern California, Uribe was surrounded by Japanese Art collected by his parents. He had to reconcile art practices in formal western education with even more formal traditional Japanese art.  He studied at The Oomoto School of Traditional Japanese Arts in Japan and in particular the work of Onisaburo Deguchi, whose life, body of work, and philosophy, were a great influence, and made a profound impression on him.  Uribe has been highly influential in the public art scene in Sonoma County.  He started the student apprenticeship program Art Start, whose benches, murals and sculptures populate the county. He designed the War Memorial for Santa Rosa.  His currently maintains a studio in the SOFA (South A Street Arts District) in Santa Rosa.

Mario Uribe

Mario Uribe

In collaboration with Doug Unkrey

In collaboration with Doug Unkrey

Enter Through Here

I decided to call the sculpture Enter Through Here after a centuries-old artwork by a Buddhist master: he intended to say that through the practice of being mindful you would enter into enlightenment, or a new way of being and seeing. The circle is a symbol of that practice, or a gateway to it. My intention from the very beginning was to work on this sculpture from the same perspective I approach my other work; which means not controlling or planning ahead too much, staying open to the possibilities that appear each moment as the work develops and maintaining the spontaneity and energy of the moment. Not exactly the most common approach to this type of sculpture.

In that process however, the interaction between Doug Unkrey's fabrication and interpretation of my vision and direction kept that energy alive and the artwork remained in a wonderful flux, offering wonderful visual opportunities to appear each time we made decisions. As I walked around and through the sculpture, deciding what to do next, it was like imagining myself creating an immense Enso with a brush, but in my mind, I was inside the brush and the ink as it spread on the paper. All of the wonderful small and large accidents that happen during the act of creating from instinct are there to be discovered and accepted. I believe all of us enjoyed the process and discovered something new.

Mario Uribe, Al's Cube

Al's Cube

Based on my personal interaction with Al and after reading about his life and accomplishments, I thought that creating a steel sculpture using the Buddhist symbols of Ten Shi Jin would be the perfect homage for a man who had mastered universal energy in a creative way during his lifetime on earth.

Ten Shi Jin is a Zen concept referring to Universal Energy, our planet Earth and Man as the component joining the two.  Its literal meaning is Heaven Earth Man.  In Zen Buddhist philosophy, the Circle, Square and Triangle represent these three elements and their relationship to each other: the square signifies Earth, the circle refers to Heaven, and the triangle is man, or the potential of humankind to stand on the Earth and reach toward Heaven – both physically and metaphorically. They comprise a form of sacred geometry.


Derived principally from the motion of the revolution of the planets, it symbolizes wholeness or totality and represents the principle that has no beginning and no end, for example time.  A perfectly symmetrical entity, equidistant from the center at all points, it indicates the realm of radiation that proceeds from the One center; in other words a circumscribed field of action – energy.


The triangle is the archetype symbol of a sacred enclosure, our body.  The triangle is thus conceived as the first closed figure to emerge when creation emerged from chaos. It is the beginning of all forms and symbolizes the human body in its triple aspect: physical, intellectual and spiritual.  Out of it comes the square.


The square represents the objective world, composed of the four great elements, earth, water, fire and air. The phenomenal world extends into four directions. These four directions represent the totality of space, and they bind the earth in order.  Its four perfect and equal lines bounding its form are the perfect symbol to denote our terrestrial world.


Creativity is intuitive spiritual understanding in alignment with the appropriate use of knowledge.

Mario Uribe, 2012