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Opening Night Event: Autumn Exhibition Series

Opening Night Event - Autumn Exhibition Series
Fri, Oct 4, 2019

Guests at Opening Night Event, 2019

5:30 – 9:00 pm
Free for UICA Members;
Non-members: Free with gallery admission

Join UICA for the opening of our Autumn Exhibition Series, including Larry Cook: On the Scene, Mark Rumsey: Memory Map - State Street, and Kennedy Yanko: Before Words. Enjoy light refreshments and a first look at the works on view.


Larry Cook: On the Scene
Sep 28, 2019 – Jan 26, 2020

On the Scene is a solo exhibition that explores the cultural aesthetic of “club” photography and painted backdrops. The photographs featured were taken within the last two years in the Washington, DC area. During this time, Larry Cook set up makeshift photo booths featuring hand-painted backdrops, portraying either landscapes of leisure or high-end products. 

Within the exhibition, Cook examines the formal, social, and cultural aspects of this photographic practice, including photographs of subjects posing in front of backdrops that focus on elements of performance, expression, and spectacle. These works are featured with archival photographs dating back to 1980, highlighting the pose, gesture, and choreography in this visual form of representation.

To allow viewers to actively engage with the exhibition, an installation with a vintage backdrop is included, inviting viewers to participate in this tradition. On the Scene utilizes pictorial realism, fantasy, and photography to examine the larger questions of status, individualism, and materialism within black culture.


Mark Rumsey: Memory Map: Roof Line - State Street
Sep 28, 2019 – Jan 26, 2020

Memory Map: Roof Line - State Street is a site-specific installation by Grand Rapids-based artist Mark Rumsey. It features braids of repurposed textiles strung into planes floating in space. The planes represent Rumsey’s memories of the roof line of the dilapidated rental house he lived in as a youth. The strips of textile are also memories, representing connections with the six women who raised him, his mother and five older sisters. The third element of memory is the repurposing of textiles, which relates to his family’s reuse of materials and furniture throughout his childhood. 

Memory Map is a mash-up of process and materials, excess versus scarcity, privilege and misfortune, focused through Rumsey’s memories of childhood poverty. Rumsey’s experience growing up led him to believe he was ‘less than;’ that poverty was a condition he created, that the poor created. He’s reconciled these beliefs as an adult, now understanding poverty as a social failure, not an individual failure. 

Memory Map is both a personal narrative, reflecting memories of Rumsey’s childhood, and a larger conversation, dealing with the social issues of wealth and poverty in American society.


Kennedy Yanko: Before Words
Sep 28, 2019 – Jan 26, 2020

Before Words is a body of metal and paint skin work meant to induce new ways of seeing. If we understand our human inclination and tendency to adopt collective viewpoints, then we can more determinedly decide to refute those learned perspectives and develop our own. Abstraction is the intuitive tool that illuminates independent thought. In psychology, it’s considered higher order thinking—and in philosophy, it’s a means of bringing hyper-focus to one aspect of a phenomenon. Here, with Before Words, abstraction is implemented in both of these senses: it posits that sensory experiences constitute this higher order thinking, and it focuses on ambiguity as a means to elicit pure responses.


Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations should contact Megan Bylsma, Associate Director, at 616.454.7000 x11 or megan@uica.org at least 72 hours in advance.