Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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“We All Come From Something” | Powerful art by a powerful woman


Robert Zimmerman

In Judith Levy’s newest exhibit, “We All Come From Something”, the artist uses stories from her past to show that everyday life is complicated and full of ups and down.

The exhibit, which incorporates a number of range of mediums—from video and photography to neon lights—opened at the UMKC Gallery of Art last Thursday.

The first photos people will notice upon entering the exhibit feature captions such as, “Uncle Ira owned a NYC Deli and photographed the city at dawn” and “Uncles Bert and Willy didn’t speak so they talked to their dogs instead of each other.” All of these pictures were inspired by stories of Levy growing up.

“My work is about history culture and identity,” wrote Levy, in an artist’s statement handed out at the gallery’s opening. “I reconstruct historical narratives and family stories to show that American culture is complicated and filled with expressions of commonality and contradiction.”

“Memory Cloud” by Judith Levy.
“Memory Cloud” by Judith Levy.

Aside from walking around the exhibit to see all the different pieces of art on the wall, Levy’s exhibit features an interactive component called “Memory Cloud.”

At first glance, “memory Cloud” looks like bottles hanging from the ceiling. Look through the opening of the bottles, however, and you will be astonished by what you see.

“In the interactive installation ‘Memory Cloud’, I show the way several decades of found images of people show us how alike we are, as seen in pictures of family holiday,  small town parades and graduations,” said Levy.

The exhibit also depicts the struggle of discovering one’s identity. Neon signs hanging in the corners flash “He She Ze.” Ze is an alternative pronoun used to identify a person who doesn’t fit into the traditional male/female gender binary.

Finally, the exhibit ends with what looks like scenes from old movies. However, this is not the case. All of the pictures are actually formed into a collage.

“I photograph details with my iPhone and produce hundreds of 4-by-6 [images], which I use for making collages, two-dimensional photographic images and to create videos,” Levy explained.

“We All Come From Something” is a unique experience, turning moments of everyday life into extraordinary pieces of art.

Students should find the time to enter the gallery and compare moments in their lives to the moments Levy shows through her art.

“We All Come From Something” is open for viewing now through April 6 at the UMKC Gallery of Art in the Fine Arts Building. For more information, check out info.umkc.edu/gallery.



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