Photo gallery: NYC inspiration in Detroit

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Abstract imagination playfully dances across the crisp white walls of the gallery.

Deer and owls become mythical creatures while color and texture become whole new platforms with which to display the mind’s eye.

The pieces openly welcome their viewers into their realm of childlike brevity, courage and curiosity.

The Oakland University art gallery’s current exhibit “Idealizing the Imaginary: Illusion and Invention in Contemporary Painting” is an explosive dreamscape of modern art.

This collection of work by 14 different New York artists creates something never seen at OU before.

Associate Professor of Art and Director of the gallery, Dick Goody, chose to house the collection in hopes of providing students and the rest of Metro Detroit with an inside look at the ever changing and inspiring New York art scene.

“This show gives Detroit the chance to see cutting edge paintings that have never been shown here,” he said. “And more importantly, it gives our students a wonderful opportunity to see works in context in the flesh.”

In the exhibit’s companion full-color catalogue, artist Cecily Brown expresses her hope to create an alternate, yet comparable world, and more importantly, a path to that world, that others can relate to.

“It’s about looking and what you get from allowing the imagery to shift and change,” she said. “There isn’t a final destination … I want the viewing of it to approximate the experience of being in the world.”

Goody expresses the importance of these pieces of work and their attempt — and success — at paving a swift turn in the form of contemporary art.

“The painters are energized by something else entirely — the idea of making work that is derived from their imagination rather than things outside of painting,” he said. “They’ve invented something completely new, beyond reproducing an existing image, and that, to me, is what’s really exciting.”

“Idealizing the Imaginary” will be on display until April 1 and as always admission is free of charge. The OU art gallery is located at 208 Wilson hall. To learn more about this exhibit visit

Contact Life Editor Clare La Torre via e-mail at [email protected]