A painting you can walk into: ‘Shift’ is an Oklahoma City art exhibit you see and feel

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OKLAHOMA CITY - It's part amusement park, part pillow fort, all art gallery.

Step into the immersive and interactive exhibit, and you're actually inside the heads of the artists who created it.

Artist Hugh Meade calls it "A playground for grownups."

Meade is just one of more than a dozen Oklahoma artists who spent months creating an exhibit they call 'Shift.'

There is no right or wrong way to go through it, no arrows, no placards to read.

Meade and curator Laura Massenat hoped visitors would just kind of lose themselves in the experience.

"We knew that we wanted people to be able to move through it physically, to be able to climb up and down and through," Massenat said.

So, you can walk through the Neuron Forest, touch the brain cells and watch synapses fire.

You can walk into the clouds, too.

This time of year, they remind people of an ice cave.

"The cloud structure is actually made of recycled milk bottles," Meade said.

The changing nature of time takes up a whole room complete with 'hypno-wheel.'

"You experience the distortion of the passage of time," Massenat said.

The Natural Forest contains surprises in every tree.

Think 'secret life of insects.'

Even the public bathroom makes you feel like you're in an aquarium.

"It's magic," Massenat said.

"It's a magical experience," Meade said. "That's, honestly, one of the best ways to think of it."

The business model for the installation is a little different, too.

You can't buy the art and take it home.

Sponsors paid for what you see there.

Organizers would like to construct something on a much larger scale where they could charge admission.

"The only consensus (from visitors) is that there's not enough," Massenat said.

The collective of artists called themselves Factory Obscura.

They set up in what looks, from the outside, like a regular art gallery.

Whether you crawl through or float through, the inside is something completely different.

For more information on 'Shift' and the Factory Obscura project, go to www.currentstudio.org/factory-obscura/.

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