UB presents multi-gallery Situations exhibition by Lydia Okumura

Brazilian-born artist’s first solo museum exhibition now on view in both of UB’s art galleries


Lydia Okumura has made UB art galleries multi-dimensional.

The walls and floors of the galleries are adorned with Okumura’s work. She is a Brazilian-born artist who is displaying decades of her work in the new exhibition titled “Situations.” The exhibit is in both the UB Art Gallery in the Center for the Arts on North Campus and the UB Anderson Gallery near South Campus.

Both exhibitions were unveiled on Sept. 8. The pieces at the UB Art Gallery will be on display through Dec. 17, while the UB Anderson Art Gallery will be displaying its pieces through Jan. 8.

Admission to both galleries is free and open to the public.

Bob Scalise, the acting director of the Anderson Gallery, stated that this is Okumura’s first solo museum exhibition.

“[Okamura’s] been in a lot of shows, but she hasn’t had a comprehensive exhibition like this,” he said.

Okamura, who has been a working artist for almost 50 years, uses simple materials to “blur the line between two and three dimensions,” the exhibit states.

She does this through a variety of media, ranging from paint and string to stainless steel wire mesh.

Each piece in the Anderson Gallery is of special interest to UB students and Buffalo residents. All of the metal works within the exhibition were produced in Buffalo and many materials are from local vendors.

The pieces are located both inside and outside of the gallery. No surface is off-limits for Okumura.

One of the most unique sections of the exhibition is located on the Anderson Gallery’s second floor, where her work is delicately intertwined with sample selections from the permanent collection of the UB art galleries.

The multi-dimensional pieces within the exhibition test one’s sense of space, location and depth.

One piece titled “Different Dimensions of Reality II” features three-dimensional aluminum plates with a painted wall behind them that continues the pattern, requiring a discerning scan to determine where the plates end and the wall begins.

Each piece within the gallery makes a similarly complex statement, yet is welcoming enough to be easy to appreciate for the casual viewer.

Okumura’s background has largely influenced her work. She currently lives in New York, but was born to a Japanese immigrant family in São Paulo, Brazil in 1948. She moved to the United States in 1974 but worked as an artist long before that. The work on display in the “Situations” exhibition dates back to 1972.

UB has selected Okumura’ work, which has previously been on display in numerous museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Scalise said the Anderson Gallery is interested in bringing more student visitors and would urge students to come “to see the rich resources of contemporary art that you have right in your own neighborhood.”

Many museum-goers attended the opening of the exhibit but there has been a lack of students visiting the galleries.

Scalise does not want students to be intimidated and hopes they begin to come into the gallery.

“There is this stigma where [people think] museums aren’t approachable and people are afraid that they don’t know what they’re looking at,” Scalise said. “People, especially UB students, should know that [art is] very approachable; that’s why artists do this work, to engage the people.”

The UB Anderson Art Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. The UB Art Gallery in the Center for the Arts is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Jimmy Corra is an arts staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com.