2011 - 2012 exhibitions

Untitled, 2012 You Are Here: Center of the Universe, 2011 Hole, 2012 Gaia, 2011

Remain Calm: Graem Whyte

September 8 - October 7, 2012

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 8 6-8PM

Curated by: Dick Goody

The artistic practice of Graem Whyte lies at the intersection of family, community, collaboration, craftsmanship, metaphysics and the imaginative of repurposing materials.  In this exhibition he focuses on four projects paralleling themes drawn from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  The resulting sculptures and installations encourage relational involvement.  They are not merely to be contemplated, the viewer is invited to participate and engage, to complete the work.

The mythological themes in “Remain Calm” explore war, death, famine and conquest.  However, Whyte reinterprets them by presenting their inverse viewpoints.  Each theme is transposed into something positive.  Hence “war” becomes “play,” “death” “sleep,” “famine” “purification,” and “conquest” “enlightenment.”  Addressing universal issues of morality and mortality, he engages the world, its challenges and its contradictions.

This exhibition bridges Detroit and the suburbs.  It is a distillation of Whyte’s locale: “Popps Packing” (a former meat packing business) which serves as home, studio, gallery and de facto community center.  Located at the northern rim of Hamtramck, an enclave within the City of Detroit, here Whyte produces works in a variety of scale from small domestic sculptures, to mid sized assemblages, to larger collaborative projects.

Remain Calm is accompanied by a full-color catalogue.


There will be a panel discussion on Sunday, October 7 at 2PM in the gallery:

The Academy, the Student & the Artist


Kevin Beasley, Heather Darcy Bhandari, Gunalan Nadarajan, Vagner M. Whitehead, Graem Whyte

Each year in the United States thousands of people graduate from university studio art degree programs. This panel discussion explores why and how the academy educates potential professional artists.   The statement, true or false, that artists are born and not made is an introductory part of the context for this discussion.  Also under scrutiny is the autodidactic artist; in the global contemporary art world, while they are in the minority, self-taught artists have proven to be a viable and resilient competitor for the academically trained artist.

The core issues under discussion are the viability of the academy as an incubator for professional artists, with specific conversations about academic best practices: objectives, labor, instruction and pedagogical philosophy.

66% of fine arts students are female. 67% of fine arts graduates find work in “the arts;” 10% of them as professional artists with a median income of $35K. Panelists will discuss the implications of such statistics and how they might shape a university degree program.  Lastly, panelists will look at the way the academy prepares students for the business of art or art as a business.

Kevin Beasley received his MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 2012 and prior to this earned a BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. His work has been exhibited with The Butcher’s Daughter in solo and group shows in Los Angeles, throughout Michigan and New York since 2009. Notable upcoming group exhibitions include “Some Sweet Day” at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (October 2012) and inclusion in “Fore,” the next installment of the Studio Museum in Harlem’s historic “F” series (October-March 2012). Beasley currently lives and works in New York City.

Heather Darcy Bhandari is the Director of Artist Relations at Mixed Greens gallery where she has curated over sixty exhibitions. As a board member of Brooklyn-based NURTURE art, she is invested in fostering opportunities for emerging artists and curators. In 2009 she co-authored ART/WORK, a professional development book for artists published by Simon and Schuster.  She is also a member of the New Art Dealer’s Alliance (NADA), and for the last two years she has co-chaired  programming for ArtTable.  Currently she is an adjunct lecturer in the Visual Arts Department at Brown University. Heather has an MFA in painting from Pennsylvania State University.

Gunalan Nadarajan, an art theorist and curator working at the intersections of art, science and technology, is Dean of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design. Prior to joining University of Michigan, he was Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art. His publications include Ambulations (2000), Construction Site (edited; 2004) and Contemporary Art in Singapore (co-authored; 2007), Place Studies in Art, Media, Science and Technology: Historical Investigations on the Sites and Migration of Knowledge (co-edited; 2009), The Handbook of Visual Culture (co-edited; 2012) and over 100 book chapters, catalogue essays, academic articles and reviews. His writings have also been translated into Mandarin, Indonesian, Korean, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Romanian, Serbian, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Valencian and Spanish. He has curated twenty international exhibitions including Ambulations (Singapore, 1999), 180KG (Jogjakarta, 2002), media_city (Seoul, 2002), Negotiating Spaces (Auckland, 2004) and DenseLocal (Mexico City, 2009). He was contributing curator for Documenta XI (Kassel, Germany, 2002) and the Singapore Biennale (2006) and served on the jury of a number of international exhibitions, like ISEA2004 (Helsinki / Talinn), transmediale 05 (Berlin), ISEA2006 (San Jose) and FutureEverything Festival (Manchester, 2009). He was Artistic Co-Director of the Ogaki Biennale 2006, Japan and Artistic Director of ISEA2008 (International Symposium on Electronic Art) in Singapore. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Art in 2004.

Vagner M. Whitehead received his MFA in Creative Photography and Electronic Intermedia from The University of Florida. He is an Associate Professor of Art (New Media) at Oakland University. His work explores original, appropriated, and researched multi-lingual texts, found and created photo-based imagery, their translations and his interpretations, as allegorical devices that reframe transcultural experiences vis-a-vis mass media and communication technologies. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally online, in group and solo exhibitions, as well as video and film festivals.

Graem Whyte studied architecture, but is essentially a self-taught artist. He has exhibited extensively in the metro Detroit area since 1998. Whyte and his wife, artist Faina Lerman, own Popps Packing, a former meat packing plant in Hamtramck, which they have renovated into their home, studio space, and an experimental art venue to host seasonal indoor/outdoor installations, exhibitions, and performances. Creator and curator of the weekly art showcase This Week In Art, at Motor City Brewing Works in Midtown Detroit, Whyte has also been involved in collaborations with a number of other American artists including Eddy Sykes and Mitch Cope. He was recently selected to show his work at the CUE Foundation in 2013, which will be his New York debut.

Moderated by Dick Goody.  Goody is Director of the Oakland University Art Gallery (OUAG) where he has organized over sixty curatorial projects, and written more than thirty exhibition catalogues.  These projects have been reviewed in national journals including Art in America and Sculpture Magazine.  An Associate Professor of Art, his most recent solo exhibition of paintings was The Decay of Lying at The Butcher’s Daughter, Ferndale, MI, in 2010.  In 2011, his work was featured in Painting Coast to Coast at the Elaine Jacob Gallery, Detroit, and in the exhibition Live from Detroit at Fred Torres Collaborations, New York.  He is currently chair of the Department of Art & Art History at Oakland University.  An active panelist and moderator, Goody’s recent appearances include: “Painting Coast to Coast,” Wayne State University, 2011, “Artist’s Books: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Art Making,” OUAG, 2010; and “Detroit Breeding Ground,” Museum of New Art, Pontiac, 2009.  In 2009, along with Richard Tuttle and Lorna Simpson, Goody served as a review panelist for the inaugural Kresge Arts in Detroit Artist Fellowships.  His notable recent curatorial projects have included: Seminal Works from the N’Namdi Collection of African American Art, 2008, The Art of the Artist’s Book, 2010, Borders and Frontiers: Collage and Appropriation in the Contemporary Image, 2011, and Idealizing the Imaginary: Illusion and Invention in Contemporary Painting, 2012.

This event is made possible in part by the Oakland University, College of Arts and Sciences 2012-2013 Annual Theme: Creative & Critical Minds.

In conjunction with this exhibition Graem Whyte is participating in “Dlectricitywith the installation: “The Ice Cave.”  “Dlectricity,” the mid-town Detroit Art & Light Festival, takes place October 5 & 6 and is part of Art Detroit Now Gallery Week.

AZIMUTH 23: Senior Thesis in Studio Art

April 13 - May 13, 2012

Opening Reception: Friday, April 13

Curated by: Susan Evans

Idealizing the Imaginary: Illusion and Invention in Contemporary Painting

January 14 - April 1, 2012

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 14

Curated by: Dick Goody

Bye Baby Bunting, by Cecily Brown, 2008-2009, 65 x 43 inches, oil on linen, © Cecily Brown; courtesy of Gagosian Gallery, New York, photograph by Robert McKeever

Featuring: Kevin Baker, Trudy Benson, Katherine Bernhardt, Cecily Brown, Jesse Chapman, Matt Connors, Kim Dorland, Mark Flood, José Lerma, Dasha Shishkin, Josh Smith, Denyse Thomasos, and Wendy White.

Central to the practice of the painters in this exhibition is the expansion of the imaginary as the primary source of their compositions and as such their practice is rooted in invention and the mind’s eye. The resulting works are reflexive of something intrinsic to contemporary painting: creating a surface that is neither a window onto the extant, nor a mirror, but rather a platform expressing the interior feelings and thoughts of each artist onto a vital exterior surface.

The dimensional, spatial arena in which these artists work is unique to the time and locale of their painting. And to be sure, it is a charged moment when the immense proliferation of im­ages, digital or otherwise, has expanded rapidly outward like an infinite exploding universe. More information exists than can ever be processed. We no longer live in the information age rather we have entered the age of conceptuality. How these artists think and feel has become infinitely more significant to them than recounting what they have seen.

These artists reinvigorate and reintroduce painting as something urgently relevant, interdisciplinary and contemporaneous. Through painting, they make their thoughts and feelings universally acces­sible for everyone to experience. They make painting a transcendent practice, not one defined by image or doctrine, but rather by idealization of the imaginary and the recognition that invention and illusion are the engines of artistic freedom, change and necessity.

Converging Parallels: Senior Thesis in Studio Art

December 2 - December 18, 2011

Opening Reception: Friday, December 2

Curated by: Vagner M. Whitehead

Multiplicity, Connection and Divergence: African Art from the John F. Korachis Collection

September 10 - November 20, 2011

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 10

Curated by: Andrea Eis

This exhibition from the John F. Korachis Collection of African Art explores the diversity of African art. Encouraging the viewer to connect personally with each object, many of the artworks are accompanied by reflective texts by Oakland University faculty members, urging each of us to consider how we contextualize art from different cultures.

Chiefly from the 19th and 20th centuries, these objects were made by artists to be used in religious ceremonies. Some were placed in communal gathering places, many were worn by dancers, and others were a permanent presence in domestic environments. An intrinsic part of the everyday life of the people that made and used them, each object's appearance was fashioned to communicate precisely its personification and purpose – that of interceding and seeking a solution to a particular predicament, for example, to achieve fertility, to prevent drought, to ensure a good harvest, or to bar a malevolent presence. The power of these works of art lies in their metaphysical capacity to communicate with ancestors in the afterlife. In the context of this exhibition, their extraordinary visual presence reminds us that they are a vital part of both the kaleidoscope of global visual culture and the living culture that made them.computer repair software

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