Cosmic Images 2000

Cosmic Images 2000


Allie McGhee

Exhibition Date

May 16, 2018 to August 31, 2018

Description of Work

Allie McGhee is Detroit’s famed “Old Master” of abstract expressionism.   After attending Cass Technical High School, Detroit, McGhee studied at Ferris State University and Eastern Michigan University, where he graduated in 1965. A Detroiter for over five decades, he is committed to art in public places, such as his commissions for Michigan Avenue Station on the Detroit People Mover and Detroit Receiving Hospital. His paintings are included in the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC; and has been featured at the G.R. N'namdi Gallery (Detroit, MI), the Hill Gallery (Birmingham, MI), Marlborough Gallery (NYC) and Art Basel Week, Miami. 

McGhee favors using sticks to brushes, when applying paint, to create his powerful abstract paintings. Pulling and scraping paint across the canvases, he brings himself close to the paintings’ surfaces, allowing his hands to interact with the paint and surface in a visceral way. He finds inspiration through three key forms: expressionism, geometry and lyricism.  Music is a key element that impacts his works.  McGhee’s abstractions are like jazz pieces, extremely fluid, free and often very dynamic and bright.

Allie McGhee’s art challenges our sense of belonging and inspires existential questions relating to science and the universe. According to art critic Liz DiDonna: “Looking at one of his paintings is like floating in a dream, peacefully hovering over a landscape and spying shapes swirling around each other. McGhee approaches painting with an endless inquiry into the framework of the universe. His observations conclude with finished paintings of multiple perspectives — we see things from the horizon line and above it simultaneously. What we get is not a feeling of disorientation, but one of omniscience.” (“Soothing the Easel”. Detroit Metro Times, January 17, 2001).

McGhee has been a long-time collaborator with Dr. David J. Pinksy, Director and Science Lead, Frankel Cardiovascular Center at University of Michigan, for the Taubman Institute Art+Science Program.