Kennedy Yanko: Before Words
On view through January 26, 2020
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA)
Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Kennedy Yanko: Before Words” is a body of metal and paint skin work meant to induce new ways of seeing. If we understand our human inclination and tendency to adopt collective viewpoints, then we can more determinedly decide to refute those learned perspectives and develop our own. Abstraction is the intuitive tool that illuminates independent thought. In psychology, it’s considered higher order thinking—and in philosophy, it’s a means of bringing hyper-focus to one aspect of a phenomenon. Here, with “Before Words,” abstraction is implemented in both of these senses: it posits that sensory experiences constitute this higher order thinking, and it focuses on ambiguity as a means to elicit pure responses.

Image credits:
Kennedy Yanko, Crater, 2018. Mixed media. Photograph by Kris Graves.