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Uma Iyli

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Bangalore, India

Birth year

Lives in
Fremont, California, USA

Works in
Fremont, California


CCA (California College of the Arts), 2002, BFA

sculpture, conceptual, abstract, installation, mixed-media


Winding and Unwinging Series 
Spinning is a monotonous, meditative process that encourages the act of remembering and therefore re-living.  Embracing the process of my ancestors is always at the forefront of my work in my journey to connection my past and present. Gold serves as a continuum in material and color to elements of my Indian heritage. By allowing the gold and thread to pass through my fingers, I am able to remember and transform these memories into new forms through the winding of the gold thread onto Plexiglas tubes.  Each tube represents a day. Each day, the work grew one inch at a time. Embracing the idea of re-structuring time through these wound pillars of gold thread has been a way for me to recompose ideas of identity, women’s work, and society. Having grown up in India’s traditional caste-based society, I belong to the weaver’s community. With that identity, I reference weaving, stitching and pattern making in my work. To me, these are akin to the act of meditation. 

Q-Tip Garland Installation Series (2016) 

Inspired by process, Q-tips serve as a continuum for me as they are an every day tool and also function as brushes in my artwork. Through this role, they are immersed in the colors inspired by traditional Sari’s and transformed into beautiful objects after being used as brushes for my paintings and prints. Being open to all media, my work with Q-tips as material resulted from what initially could have been discarded material from my studio practice.
The Q-tip Garland Installation Series is based on the process of hand tying these colorful Q-tip relics into garlands in the way traditional flower garlands are created. This series connects me with memories of my childhood days when I made jasmine flower garlands with my mother. The process of this work is equally important as the finished product. I see the discarded Q-tip material as transformative. Woven together, they also reference DNA strands. Biological references are a constant with my work hand in hand with ideas of identity, feminism and women’s work. Embracing these references, this series gives a positive spin on how we can co-exist with our various genetic make-ups, sex and spirits in beauty. Through color and form, this series speaks to the potential of change, growth and transformation through simplicity. 


Uma Rani Iyli is a San Francisco Bay Area artist working in mixed media installations, sculpture, paintings and photography.  Uma’s recent 2015 accomplishments include the selection of her work for "Abstract Catalyst Exhibition" in Portland, Exposed-Photography exhibit in Palo Alto’s Pacific Art League juried by Danny Sanchez of Themes + Projects, "Exposure Award" publication, ArtSpan 2015 guide competition, and the "Trending" WCA on-line exhibit and catalog. In addition, she was selected for the 2015-2016 ArtSpan Residency at the Journal Arts Building in San Francisco. Uma received ‘Juror’s choice’ award at “ArtSpan SF Open Studios in 2014 by juror Christo Oropeza and was featured in Broke-Ass Stuart’s feature about ArtSpan’s 2015 Open Studios written by Candice Cui.  Her works have been selected for national juried shows such as “WCA Best of 2014 Exhibition” and “Blue Planet”, an Eco-art exhibition presented by Pacific Region Women’s Caucus for Arts. Uma has also shown work in Public venues such as Saratoga Library, Menlo Park Library and SF Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

Uma Rani Iyli was born in Bangalore, India, in 1974. She received her foundation art education at the College of Fine Arts, Bangalore. At twenty-one, she moved to United States. In 2003, she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from the California College of Arts in Oakland. She currently lives in the east bay and maintains her studio at the Journal Arts Building in San Francisco. . 


Up-coming Exhibits:
2016 ArtSpan Group site stARTup Art Fair, Hotel Del Sol, room 314, San Francisco, April 29-31.
2016 Parking Lot Art Fair, San Francisco. April 30th.

2003 Bachelors of Fine Arts from the California College of Arts, Oakland, CA
1999 Associate Art Degree from Mission College, Santa Clara, CA
1998 Certificate in Digital Arts, Mission College, Santa Clara, CA
1995 Foundation Art Education at the College of Fine Arts, Bangalore, India

2016 ArtSpan Group site stARTup Art Fair, Hotel Del Sol, room 314, San Francisco, .
2016  Convergence: Journal Building Artists Residency Group Exhibit. San Francisco, CA
2016 Mission Artists United Spring Open Studios: Journal Building Studios. (April 16-17, 12-6pm)
2016 Trending: Contemporary Art Now!, Juror: Elizabeth Garvey, co-founder and owner of Garvey Simon Art Access,  Online Gallery and  Catalog  for the Women’s Caucus for Art exhibition
2016/2015 5th Anniversary Exhibit, Incline Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2015 Resolution, Arc Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2015 Exposed- A Photography Exhibit, Juror: Danny Sanchez, gallery manager at Themes + Projects, San Francisco Pacific Art League, Palo Alto, CA
2015 Abstract Catylyst, Verum Ultimum Art Gallery, Portland, OR
2015 ArtSpan Open Studios, Ft. Mason Center, San Francisco, CA
2015 ArtSpan Open Studios, Misho Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2015 Splendor, RAW, Ruby Skye, San Francisco, CA
2015 ArtCrashers, On-line Exhibit
2014 SF ArtSpan Open Studios Exhibition, SOMArts Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2014 ArtSpan’s 12x12 Super Hub Group Show, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2014 ArtSpan Open Studios, Ruth’s Table Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2014 WCA Best of 2014 Exhibition, National Juried show juried by WCA presidents: Janice Nesser-Chu, Priscilla Otani, and Brenda Oelbaum, ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL
2013 Elements of Expression Exhibition, Art 29 Space, Chelsea, NY
2013 Painting/Monoprint, Saratoga Library, Saratoga, CA
2011 Painting/Monoprint, SF Convention and Visitors Bureau, San Francisco, CA
2010 Blue Planet: An Eco-Art Exhibit, National Juried Group Exhibition: Women's Caucus for the Art, Juror Artist Kim Abeles, SOMArts Bay Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2010 Painting and Wall Installation, Menlo Park Library, Menlo Park, CA
2009 Painting and Wall Installation, Shelldance Orchid Gallery, Pacifica, CA
2009 Monoprint, Pacific Art League, Palo Alto, CA
2007 Graphic Design Exhibit, Micheal P. Vergas Gallery, Mission College, Santa Clara, CA.
2001 Monoprint and Sculptures, Olive Hyde Art Gallery, Fremont, CA
2016 Catalog for Women’s Caucus for Art exhibition Trending: Contemporary Art Now!. Juror: Elizabeth Garvey, co-founder and owner of Garvey Simon Art Access.
2015 Cui, Candice. ARTISTS YOU SHOULDN’T MISS AT OPEN STUDIOS WKND 2, ArtSpan’s 2015 Open Studios. Broke-Ass Stuart. 
2015"Q-tip Connection-Red 1" was shown as part of Fifth Annual Exposure Award by See/Me.  The photograph is published in the books featuring select Exposure Award Collections, in the "Art Photography Collection" book.
2015 PersistenceArtSpan's 2015 SF Open Studios Guide Book. New Asterisk Press: San Francisco, Weekend 2: page 9 & 63
2016/2015 American Art Collector. Juried Competition of New Work. Alcove Books: Berkeley.
2010 Blue Planet Catalog. Pacific Region Women’s National Juried Exhibition, Press: City.
2014 Rogers, Amanda N., WCAs Best of 2014. Blog. Feb 2014:
2014 WCA Best of 2014 Calender July 2014-December 2015. National Juried show juried by Women’s Caucus for Art.
2010 Adrian, Amber. A Guide to Open Studios7x7: San Francisco. Oct 7, 2010
2016  ArtSpan "Juried" Auction, SOMArts Gallery, San Francisco, CA .
2010 ArtSpan Auction, SOMArts Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Recent Exhibits

Uma Iyli participated in these exhibits:

Oct, 2010 Artspan Open Studios 2010
La Victoria
Mar, 2010 ArtSpan Benefit Art Show & Auction
SOMArts Cultural Center

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