Forthcoming: Thinking of Bush
Reception: October 10 from 6-9pm
Joe Fleming has been exhibiting internationally for over 15 years. Fleming completed his formal education from Sheridan College of Applied Arts in 1986. He has lectured at various universities in Canada and South East Asia since 1993. His works are in included in many public and private collections such as: BMO Financial Group, Trimark Mutual Funds, Honeywell Bull, Princewaterhouse Coopers (Malaysia), HSBC Bank, Australian High Commission, Canadian High Commission (Kuala Lumpur), the Edmonton Art Gallery, the Museum of Civilization (Hull, Quebec) and the Holocaust Museum (LA). Fleming has participated in many international art fairs: Rogue Wave Singapore, courtesy of Gallery Taksu as well as FIAC in Paris, Arte Cologne in Germany, Scope in New York and TIAF in Toronto all courtesy of Artcore and General Hardware Contemporary. In 2009 Fleming’s work was included in Carte Blanche 2: Painting – a survey of new Canadian painting and The 60 Painters exhibition in Canada. Joe Fleming lives and works in Toronto, Canada.
For CV refer to joefleming.com
Contact the gallery for complete list of exhibition images.
Screen Play: Recent Works by Joe Fleming
Essay by: Shannon Anderson, Writer/Curator, September 2013
Joe Fleming’s paintings have a deceptively sculptural pull. They lure the viewer into their surfaces, first directing the eye toward vividly coloured shapes, then beckoning it closer to discover surface details and underlying layers, and finally urging the whole body to shift and bend to explore the perspectival confusions and possibilities.
Fleming refers to those bright areas of solid colour as “graphic devices,” noting the connection to illustration, both as a formal reference point and as an influence carried over from his past work in the field. Although these shapes recur throughout his practice, in this most recent body of work they adopt a sharper presence that echoes the colour-field paintings of Jack Bush from the 1960s. The Toronto-based abstractionist drew Fleming’s attention for their shared integration of graphic elements in their work (they both had prior careers in illustration). Fleming describes his own latest works as “lean” to indicate the flatness of their surfaces, a feature that also distinguishes Bush’s paintings from those of his contemporaries.
Material choices play a key role in Fleming’s practice, and they often veer toward the industrial. In these recent works, for instance, Plexiglas is often employed as a painting support. It has been scratched to give it a “tooth” for adherence to the applied paint, but this manipulation also lends the surface a screen-like translucency. This quality shifts the potential reading of the flat planes, which come to suggest a printmakers’ silkscreen. This translucency also allows Fleming to play with light and shadows, and as such, gives him space to explore his other significant source of inspiration: film. As enamel paint washes over the Plexiglas support, emulsion-like surfaces are created that allude to film negatives. Looking at these works, Evelyn Lambart and Norman McLaren’s Begone Dull Care comes to mind. In this classic NFB piece from 1949, blank film stock is first treated as a canvas, painted on and scratched into so that the resulting images become a projected animated sequence, accompanied by an Oscar Peterson jazz soundtrack. Along with the use of scratching and the play of light, many of Lambart and McLaren’s “film stills” recall a similar combination of graphic and gestural abstraction seen in Fleming’s works.
And while his paintings remain static in practice, their contained energy communicates a need for lively engagement with and dissection of its various components. The translucency offered by the Plexiglas lets viewers see through the painting, and the artist has played with that effect, deliberately complicating our understanding of the planes on either side of it. The wall behind the painting becomes an active player as Fleming emphasizes the play of shadows and adds paint and graphite to it, dissolving the boundary between where the painting ends and the wall begins.
recent review: The Globe and Mail, review June 23, 2012
“Fleming uses construction scraps and found objects to create short but very thick pile-ups that leap off the wall. Then he slathers his hoardings with gobs and bucket wallops of candy bright paint. Weirdly, this messy sounding scheme results in works that betray a ruined elegance, the allure of the dishevelled (what is known in club culture as being a “hot mess”) – all of which makes me suspect that despite the outward slap-dash action, Fleming is a highly calculating painter.” R.M. Vaughan June 23, 2012