Seen and Not Seen

Jan 29, 2022 — Apr 30, 2022
Level 2, East Court

By nature, every photograph is a lie of omission. One moment is chosen and suspended, preserving it over the infinite span of other moments that are left unseen. Omissions are also made using the frame of the camera — a vast span of life and activity exist beyond the crop of the image that are left to the viewer’s imagination. 

Shown concurrently with Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue, Seen and Not Seen is an exhibition of photographs by three Grand Rapids-based artists, whose styles greatly differ but who share a common ground in their motivation to create meaning through contemporary photography. Artist Hwa-Jeen Na makes decisions about what is left unseen very deliberately, framing his models and their surroundings carefully and often making preliminary sketches before taking the photograph. Leandro Lara allows chance and circumstance to permeate scenes documenting the fashion, travel, and creative undertakings of his peers. Kade Maycroft responds actively to his surroundings in a series of pre-pandemic party snapshots, providing us with vignettes of flashed-out memories that have a charged sense of movement. 

All three artists use photography as a language through which private experiences and intimate memories are conveyed to the viewer. This exhibition hints at those memories and poses questions about the moments that are not shown. How does an artist decide something is worth preserving? Is a moment made significant because it is photographed? Or is it the opposite? 

About the Artists

    Leandro Lara is a documentary and portrait photographer who draws inspiration from observing the daily life of his family and peers. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Lara travels frequently to make work in Chicago and Los Angeles, documenting a tapestry of his surrounding friends and their creative undertakings.

    Kade Maycroft is a self-taught, trans artist living in Grand Rapids. Working primarily in film photography, Kade’s work often explores narratives of seeing beauty in the mundane. He also has a passion for woodworking, and has framed all of his work in Seen and Not Seen by hand. His love for both photography and woodworking were inherited from his late grandfather, Theodore Maycroft.

    Hwa-Jeen Na is a portrait photographer and film director based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His projects focus on exploring definitions of identity through personal anecdotes and cultural influences. His work has been featured in several Michigan print and digital media outlets namely ArtPrize, The Detroit Free Press, and MLive. Na’s work was also shown at GRAM during ArtPrize 2018. 

Related Videos

Watch interviews with the artists in Seen and Not Seen

Exhibition Support

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by:

Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC

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