By Ron Scott
February 25, 2015
In the heart of Midtown Detroit, the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, just two blocks from the Detroit Institute of the Arts, is where the owner and curator George N’Namdi opened an exhibition of paintings, The Making of Dauphine, by Dick Goody; both men are stalwart promoters of the arts in Metro Detroit.
When I first caught a glimpse of the Nellie Bandaged painting, I thought maybe it was an off-color behind the scenes character from The Simpsons. But on closer observation, the surreal character wearing sunglasses and lipstick whose head is wrapped in what looks like leather or cloth mask bandage; the titillating painted image slowly takes on a futuristic iconic stature.
The twenty paintings in the exhibition are the product of 2014 sabbatical leave Goody received from Oakland University.
Goody says “The Making of the Dauphine is a suite of paintings loosely based on The Dauphine, a novella I wrote in 2013 concerning the discovery of an artificial intelligence singularly focused on ridding the world of infamy and excess, but the exhibition is only marginally concerned with this. In short, I would say that it personifies the idea that it’s about how you paint rather than what you’re painting.”
Many of the paintings are loosely representational and still life where Goody focuses on composition, color, black line, at times reminding this viewer of Matisse when he flattens out the subject. A challenge when observing these paintings is that many contain writing, or words, something I have always had a hard time with because it tends to feel illustrative. There is a school around this “text-based” art, recently exhibited in Los Angeles in 2013 by the Jack Rutberg Gallery, showing the work of Bill Barminski and Mark Greenfield. But the text here is more about shape, color and less about content or meaning.
As an Associate Professor of Art at Oakland University and curator of Oakland University Art Gallery, Dick Goody is many things; curator, writer, painter, and intellectual connoisseur of the arts. In this exhibition, one takes a peek into Goody’s interior world, surreal on the surface, a visionary utopia in its content, and vogue in its use of color and black line.
The Making of the Dauphine February 13 – March 14, 2015
The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Arts