BUFFALO, NY.- The UB Art Galleries
announces its fall exhibitions Lydia Okumura: Situations and SCREEN PROJECTS: Rodney McMillan. Lydia Okumura: Situations is the first solo museum exhibition of the Brazilian-born artist. Spanning both the UB Art Gallery, Center for the Arts and the UB Anderson Gallery, this exhibition showcases work dating from 1972 through today. The exhibition is a survey of Okumuras career, showcasing her dynamic installations, indoor and outdoor sculptures and works on paper.
Known widely in Brazil for her spatially engaging work, Okumura remains underrecognized in her adopted country of the United States. She actively challenges viewers to question their perception of space through sculptures, installations and works on paper that blur the line between two and three-dimensions. Utilizing simple materials such as string, glass and paint, her work provocatively balances line, plane and shadow. Working for almost 50 years, she continues to explore the realms of geometric abstraction through both re-visiting past installations and new work. On display will be the installation In Front of Light for which Okumura won a prize in the 1977 São Paulo Biennial, along with additional installations from the 70s and 80s. These include the colored string installation, Prismatic Appearance, from 1975 and several wire mesh sculptures recreated from her 1984 solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo including the installation Labyrinth. These works were made during a residency in summer 2016 at Buffalo Wire Works in Buffalo, NY. In addition, Okumura will create a work for the UB Art Gallery windows.
Through the exhibition and catalogue, the UB Art Galleries seeks to encourage critical reassessment of Okumuras entire oeuvre and secure her position as a dynamic and integral figure in art history. The exhibition is on view September 8-December 17, 2016 at the UB Art Gallery, CFA and September 8-January 8, 2017 at the UB Anderson Gallery.
SCREEN PROJECTS is a new initiative from the UB Art Galleriesa 24-hour, 7 day a week public art video program located on the 2nd floor of UBs Center for the Arts. SCREEN PROJECTS: Rodney McMillian is the first iteration, with McMillians Untitled (the Great Society) I on view September 8 - November 13, 2016. In Untitled (the Great Society) I, LA-based artist Rodney McMillian recites former president Lyndon B. Johnsons entire commencement speech at the University of Michigan in 1964, where he first introduce his idea of the Great Society. LBJs main goal was to eliminate poverty and racial injustice through a series of domestic programs, while focusing on improving Americas cities, landscape and education system. This speech forecasted much of Johnsons administration, which included originating programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, and food stamps as well as the signing of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.
McMillian plays the role of the politician, juxtaposing the past and present by investigating history and the performative aspects of politics. The artist found himself in agreement with many of Johnsons ideas, and the speech continues to resonate as much in present day as it did in 1964. While originally performed in 2006, the artwork feels timely a decade later, especially during the recent conflict ridden years and a tumultuous election season.
Lydia Okumura (b. 1948, São Paulo) lives and works in New York. She was born to a Japanese immigrant family and attended a Japanese school in Brazilmerging two very distinct cultural influences that continue to resonate in her work. From 1970-1973, she attended Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her work is included in other prestigious collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Museo de Art Moderna, Brazil; The Akron Art Museum, Ohio; and Museum of Belas Artes, Venezuela.
Rodney McMillian (b. 1969, Columbia, SC) received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2002. He is also an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His works are in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Orange County Museum of Art; Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Support for Lydia Okumura: Situations is provided by BROADWAY 1602 UPTOWN & HARLEM and Buffalo Wire Works. Additional support provided by Sally Marks and Frits Abell.