Born in Kyoto, Uemae learnt basic illustrations and Nanga technique by correspondence courses during his apprenticeship at a kimono laundry shop until he ran away hoping to become a painter. After having learnt Western painting by himself, he won first prize at the first Nikikai in 1947 and started to study under Kuroda Jyutaro (1887 - 1970). However, an astonishing encounter with Yoshihara Jiro's work led him to be one of the forming members of the Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai in 1954 and participated until the breakup in 1972. As a member of Gutai, his works were shown at important exhibitions including The International Art of a New Era: Informel and Gutai in 1958 where Yoshihara and Michel Tapié first collaborated and later at a number of Gutai and also solo exhibitions.
His style can be characterized by repetition and the use of everyday materials such as matches and sawdust.