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UICA welcomes 'Coming Home' exhibitions

January 27, 2016
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UICA merges with Kendall College of Art and Design
The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, or UICA, in downtown Grand Rapids is Michigan’s largest contemporary arts center and a “multi-disciplinary laboratory for the advancement of the art of our time.” Courtesy UICA

A new group of solo exhibitions featuring the work of several established and emerging artists with a connection to Michigan will be on display downtown, beginning this weekend.

The Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts, or UICA, at 2 Fulton W., is hosting an opening reception for its latest “Coming Home” exhibitions on Friday.

The event kicks off at 6 p.m. for UICA members and 7 p.m. for the general public.

Guests will get a first look at the art, meet several of the artists and enjoy a number of live performances.

The “Coming Home” exhibition series features work by artists who are from Michigan, are currently based in Michigan or have spent a considerable amount of time in Michigan during the course of their careers.

The Friday opening will celebrate the addition of Aj Cooke, Eric German and Lydia Boda to the list of participating artists.

Heather Duffy, UICA exhibitions curator, said she developed the “Coming Home” series when she first joined UICA, because she saw it as a “meaningful way to live out elements” of the UICA mission statement “within our exhibitions programming.”

“It seemed true to the long-standing voice and personality of UICA as an institution,” she said.

As part of “Coming Home,” UICA is also welcoming the “Sticks & Squares” exhibition, a group showing of works curated by guest curator Kate Garman, which explores line and shape and the grids and systems that hold them together.

Artists

Aj Cooke

Cooke has exhibited locally and nationally and was most recently recognized for her work at ArtPrize 2015 at Spiral Gallery.

Her installation as part of “Painting inFORMed" was one of two works that helped earn Spiral Gallery a juried shortlist nomination for outstanding venue.

Cooke’s work concentrates on the basic connections of biology and specifically focuses on the cognitive function of perception.

Cooke explores the construction of a postmodern sense of variance, unity and order from chaos.

“U080715-315” by Cooke will be on view until March 20.

Eric German

German lived in Grand Rapids from 2009 to 2012, while he completed a master of fine arts in drawing from Kendall College of Art and Design, or KCAD.

German creates drawings, 3D prints, installations and other works filled with rainbow-colored creatures, shapes and forms.

German’s “tiny worlds,” and the characters that inhabit them, function as stage and props within pieces that are both technological and whimsical.

His studio, The Rainbow Factory, has moved to Madison, Wisconsin and then to Kansas City, Missouri, since German left Grand Rapids.

Guests can look forward to seeing the way his works have evolved through changing surroundings over the last several years.

“The Third Age of Bashan” by German will be on view until March 20.

Lydia Boda

Boda is a 2015 bachelor of fine arts graduate from the KCAD Functional Sculpture department.

She won the inaugural UICA Fresh Pick award.

This distinction is awarded annually to one student in the graduating class at KCAD and recognizes an emerging artist of exceptional promise.

Boda will present her work showcasing a collection of meticulous and ethereal sculptures and installations that will be on view until March 20.

“Sticks & Squares”

The exhibition features works by Mara Baker, Ann Chuchvara, Carrie Dickason, Megan Gurisko, Monica Lloyd, Rachel Marcincavage and Christine Mauersberg, Mandy Cano Villalobos.

“Sticks & Squares” will be on view until March 13.

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