Process and Presence: Contemporary Disability Sculpture Exhibition

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DisArt and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park proudly present the fruit of a three-year collaboration with the landmark exhibition Process and Presence: Contemporary Disability Sculpture.

Process and Presence: Contemporary Disability Sculpture fills all three of the Meijer Garden sculpture galleries with supplemental video screenings in the Hoffman Family Auditorium. Through the finest examples of three-dimensional practice including sculpture, performance, installation, and video art. This exhibition emphasizes the relationship between disability and the fundamental human experiences of change and embodiment. Sixteen artists from across the world will be featured in a carefully organized presentation of more than 30 individual works.

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Friday, September 14, 2018 - Sunday, January 6, 2019


Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525


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Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park


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The musical and audio descriptions located below were put together by a talented team of DisArt volunteers. The audio descriptions were written by Zoe Pentaleri and interpreted musically by Lizzie Dunn and Tyler Zahnke.


Process and Presence Supplemental Videos


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Mitsuteru Ishino

Shiga Prefecture, Japan |

Mitsuteru Ishino specializes in intricately built ceramic vessels and animal figures. He was raised in the creative arts residential school Omi Gakuen—Japan’s longest running organization supporting Disability arts, established in 1946.

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Shinichi Sawada

Shiga Prefecture, Japan | b. 1982

Shinichi Sawada has become known internationally for his captivating ceramic figures. Although each sculpture is unique, he follows certain repeating motifs, including faces, animals, and patterns of protruding thorns and striations. His mysterious characters are a playful combination of abstraction and familiarity. Their symmetry and carefully detailed exteriors suggest that nothing is accidental in his work, and that the final, intricately textured objects are the product of a determined, persistent artist.

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Kazuo Osugi

Shiga Prefecture, Japan |

Kazuo Osugi’s monumental vessels and flat panels are covered with intricate patterns composed of hundreds of tiny beads of clay. Upon close examination, we find that each one resembles an abstracted face, but from a distance, the details morph and reduce to subtle tonal patterns. The artist’s remarkable craftsmanship is a testimony to his focus and concentration.

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Hideaki Yoshikawa

Shiga Prefecture, Japan | b. 1970

Yoshikawa has been working at the Atelier Yamanami since 1988. His ceramic sculptures, composed of countless dots, initially seem abstract. However, the detailed patterns are not dots but small faces—a distinctive visual language that the artist maintains in any media. He makes it his rule to put “two eyes, a nose, and a mouth” on each face, even when the faces are incredibly small.

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Ai Yamamoto

Shiga Prefecture, Japan | b. 1985

Ai Yamamoto works primarily in ceramics, the medium that she says she can “really put her heart into.” Upon her arrival at the studio, Atelier Yamanami, every day, she requests clay, and proceeds with portraits of her fellow artists and the studio staff.

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Norimitsu Kokubo

Shiga Prefecture, Japan | b. 1995

Norimitsu Kokubo has been drawing since childhood. He drew in his school notebooks, but also on the backs of calendars, flyers and any paper available to him. His drawings are meticulous maps of the urban and industrial world—ordered and highly detailed environments. He conducts extensive online research to study his subjects, often global cities, like Hollywood or Pyongyang, so that he can accurately include their key landmarks and structures.

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Wesley DeVries

USA | b. 1960

Devries began painting through Artists Creating Together (ACT), a Grand Rapids-based organization offering studio support and classes for Disabled artists of all ages. When chronic pain and muscle weakness made it difficult for him to hold a paintbrush, he began using credit cards and refrigerator magnets to move the paint across the canvas.

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Neil Marcus

USA | b. 1954

Marcus has been a powerful advocate for the liberation of Disabled people from the constraints of a society that sentimentalizes, alienates and subjugates them. He was a key figure in the Disability Rights movement in the 1980s.

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Carl Hendrickson

USA | 1951–2014

Hendrickson’s artistic practice has been described as “extravagant, magical and yet paradoxically pragmatic” and is summed up in Chair.

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Terry Williams

Australia | b. 1952

Williams has worked with Arts Project Australia since 1989. The highly respected Melbourne-based non-profit arts organization offers studio support, artist representation and exhibitions to artists with intellectual disabilities.

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Brian Catling RA

U.K. | b. 1948

Brian Catling is a novelist, poet and artist whose practice reaches across painting, sculpture, installation and performance.

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Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi

Taiwan/USA | b. 1981

Chun-Shan Yi is an artist, disability activist, and scholar. Her interdisciplinary practice often centers on personal histories and narratives generated within and performed by the body through everyday social interaction.

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Lisa Louise Bufano

USA | 1972–2013

Lisa Louise Bufano is an interdisciplinary artist and a performer, originally from Boston, Massachusetts, who often uses prosthetics and props in her work.

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Judith Scott

USA | 1943–2005

Judith Scott’s fiber sculptures are mysterious and highly tactile. They are made up of layers of carefully selected color and textures, woven, wrapped, or knotted, with objects hidden at their core. Between 1987 and her death in 2005 she worked at Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California, where she made over 200 sculptures.

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Petra Kuppers

USA | b. 1968

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Tony Pedemonte

USA | b. 1954

Tony Pedemonte’s sculptures sometimes draw comparisons with those of Judith Scott whose works are exhibited nearby. Both artists are known for compositions of wooden structures or found objects wrapped in fiber.

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