Heidi Kumao



Ceres Gallery is pleased to present “Real and Imagined: Animating the Spaces Between Us,” a solo exhibition of narrative fabric works and experimental animations. Using fabric cutouts and machine and hand stitching on industrial felt, Kumao gives physical form to the intangible dynamics underlying ordinary conversations and relationships from a feminist perspective.  Intentionally minimal, each image distills an interaction, traumatic incident, or power imbalance into an accessible visual narrative. Recognizable objects such as chairs, roots, ladders, or spotlights set the stage for the story to unfold.  Events are captured midstream, suspended in time like a felt film still.  

The exhibition is inspired, in part, by the courage, testimony, and experiences of women (like Christine Blasey Ford) who publicly report assault, harassment, or misconduct.  The #MeToo movement gave voice to thousands of women to tell their personal stories, but also exposed a hostile backlash meant to silence them.  The title, “Real and Imagined,” is a deliberate contradiction; if one is true, the other must not be.  In practice, however, both terms are used to reference a woman’s testimony and determine how it is publicly interpreted.  Her account is accepted as truthful by many andsimultaneously dismissed as imaginary by the court of public opinion: “her memory is wrong,” “she imagined it.”   

The works in “Real and Imagined: Animating the Spaces Between Us” make difficult conversations and relationships tangible by stripping them down to their essentials. Wordless physical gestures highlight the psychological and emotional forces at play behind even the smallest of interactions. 

Heidi Kumao has created award winning experimental films, video installations, cinema machines, electronic clothing, and kinetic sculptures.  She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally including shows at Art Science Museum Singapore, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Fundació Joan Miró (Barcelona), and Museu da Imagem e do Som (São Paulo). She has received fellowships from the Creative Capital Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is a professor at the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan. 

Heidi Kumao
Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
2000 Bonisteel Blvd.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109


The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MFA in Photography, 1991
University of California, Davis, BA, Art Studio and BS, Chemistry, with Honors, 1982-88


2021 Ceres Gallery, NYC 
2016 Lane Hall Gallery, Institute for Research on Women & Gender and Women’s Studies, Univ. of Michigan 
2014Ceres Gallery, NYC 
2009Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY
2008Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, Michigan
2005Mott Community College Art Gallery, Flint, Michigan
2004Safety-Kleen Gallery, Elgin Community College, Elgin, Illinois
2001Three Rivers Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, Int’l Sculpture Conference
1999Museu da Imagem e do Som (MIS), Saõ Paolo, Brazil (Museum of Image and Sound)
Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona
1998Centro Cultural Light, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA
Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain


2019Artscape, “Animations on the Big Screen”, Baltimore, MD
Shapiro Library, “Bookmarks: Speculating the Futures of the Book and Library”, University of Michigan, 
Barickuda Gallery, “Kindred,” Ann Arbor 
2018Palazzo Delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy, “Human+ The Future of Our Species” 
Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara City College, CA, “Herself: Girlhood in Stop Motion Film” 
Ceres Gallery, NYC, “Doll Show” 
2017ArtScience Museum, Singapore, “Human+ The Future of Our Species,” (catalog) 
Ann Arbor Art Center, “Whipstitch: The State of Contemporary Textiles” 
2015CCCB: Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, “Humans + The Future of Our Species,” (catalog) 
James Cook University, School of Creative Arts and Pinnacles Gallery, “7th Screengrab International Media Arts Award Exhibition,” Townsville, Queensland, Australia 
Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA), South Korea, “Across Voices: New Media Art,” (catalog) 
2014Lesley Heller Workspace, NYC, “Enticing Luminosity,” curated by Olive Ayhens
El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, “Currents 2014: Santa Fe International New Media Festival” 
Detroit Artists Market, Detroit, “DLECTRICITY: Nuit Blanche Detroit” 
Renmin University, “Displacements,” Beijing, China 
2013Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University, ““Heads Shoulders Genes & Toes”
2012Museo de Arquitectura y Diseño de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ann Arbor Film Festival, “Fairy Door” micro-video installation,”50 Screens, 50 Years”
University of the Pacific, Reynolds Gallery, “HouseWORK”
CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY, 11th Biennial Art Auction


2016Big Muddy Film Festival, Best Experimental Short, IL 
Oxford Film Festival,
Special Jury Mention, Experimental Film category, Oxford, MS 
2015Black Maria Film Festival, Jury’s Choice Award – 1st Prize, New Jersey 
Female Eye Film Festival,
Best Experimental Film, Toronto 
Humboldt International Film Festival,
Best Experimental Film, Humboldt, CA


 2019-20Faculty Fellowship, Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan 
2019Faculty Seed Grant, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan 
2018Faculty Grant for “Erase, Replace, Repeat” Office of Research, University of Michigan 
2013Faculty Research and Scholarship Award for Arctic Circle Expedition & Film Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Michigan 
2009Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts: Video/Audio 
2007Post-doctoral Research Fellowship, American Association of University Women Educational Foundation 


The Exploratorium: Museum of Art and Perception, San Francisco, CA 
Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 
Philadelphia Museum of Art 
Light Work, Syracuse, NY 
Private Collection, San Francisco 
Private Collection, Connecticut 
Private Collection, Connecticut Private Collections, New York City 
Private Collections, Buffalo


Agenda AWANI (Malaysian TV show), “Human+ : Encountering others,” TV interview about work in Singapore show, “Human+”, July 24, 2017 
Afterimage, Art Review: “Surviving Confinement: Video Sculpture by Heidi Kumao,” Alicia Chase, Vol. 42, No. 3, Nov. 2014 (cover image) 
Aplauso Magazine, Porto Alegre, Brazil (in Portugues), “Os Novos Lugares da Arte”(review of arte.mov show), Luisa Kiefer, Dec.2010
ArtPapers, Art Review, “Timed Release,” Karen VanMeenen, March-April, 2010.


Leighton Artists’ Colony, Banff Arts Centre, Canada, 2017 
Willapa Bay Artist Residency, Oysterville, WA, 2017 
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Virginia, 2019, 1918
Hambidge Creative Residency Program, Rabun Gap, Georgia, 2016
Brush Creek Artist Residency Program, Saratoga, WY, 2016
The Arctic Circle 2013 Summer Solstice Expedition, Svalbard, Norway, 2013 
Jentel Artist Residency Program, Wyoming, summer 2013 
Light Work, Artist-in-Residence Program, Syracuse, NY, August 2012 (funded) 
Blue Mountain Art Center, New York, 2011, 2003 
MacDowell Colony, 2010, 2008, 2002, 1994 


Human+: The Future of Our Species, ArtScience Museum, Singapore, 2017 
New Media Art 2015: Across Voices, CICA Museum, Gimpo, Korea, 2015 
Elements and Principles of 4D Art and Design, Ellen Mueller, Oxford University Press, 2016 
My Fair Ladies: Female Robots, Androids, and Other Artificial Eves, Julie Wosk, Rutgers University Press, 2015 
Highlike Book, FILE: Electronic Language International Festival, Saõ Paulo, Brazil, 2014
Heads, Shoulders, Genes and Toes, Judith Rushin, Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University 
Contact Sheet Annual, 2013, Light Work, Syracuse, NY 
Leonardo, Vol. 44, No. 4, 2011, pp. 368-9, SIGGRAPH2011 Exhibition, “Tracing Home” 


2016-Professor, Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan 
2008-16Associate Professor, Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan 
2003-08Assistant Professor, Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan