Seen and Not Seen

Jan 29, 2022 — May 1, 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. 

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 clues us in on those memories, as well as 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 the opposite?