From the mountains of Libre, Colo., in his self-built dome home, artist Dean Fleming will be answering questions via Skype at the UT Visual Arts Center on Thursday. The exhibit, “Travels in North Africa and Greece,” showcases the artist’s work and allows students to journey through the paintings of his travel sketchbook. The exhibit consists of many different paintings of colorful geometric shapes and designs.
Art history professor Linda Henderson is the curator of the exhibit and will host the talk with Fleming. Henderson believes Fleming’s art searches for another realm of space through shape.
“What we see in this exhibition is his discovery of the way, if he alters the grid or starts stretching things, the space will start moving,” Henderson said. “He would really like these works to shake your confidence in the 3-D world as you know it.”
Xochi Solis, director of events and public programming at the center, helped coordinate the upcoming talk with Fleming.
“[Fleming] just had hip surgery, so it will be a Skype interview, but he’s looking forward to it,” Solis said. “Dr. Henderson flew in [from Berlin] for this event.”
Henderson and Fleming have worked together before in reaching out to students. Fleming lectured when his work was featured at the 2004 Blanton exhibit “Twister: Moving Through Color, 1965-1977” and also gave a lecture to one of Henderson’s classes a year ago.
“When he talks to students it is so inspiring because he believes so much in the power of art and its ability to affect people in a positive way,” Henderson said. “What’s so great for art students and students in general is to hear about somebody who believes so strongly in goals.”
Studio art freshman Connor Frew enjoyed the Fleming exhibit, saying he appreciated the way Fleming’s art correlates with goals he has in his own art and related Fleming’s art to a project he did last semester.
“We were doing this project with foundations, where we were working with what [Fleming] was basically doing,” Frew said. “I’m a big fan of structural stuff, and that’s something I enjoy a lot.”
Henderson said Fleming’s message to students is a positive one. According to Henderson, Fleming is interested in students and is always eager to speak.
“He’s had really wonderful interactions with students,” Henderson said. “There’s so much for students to learn, but also there’s this larger message of believing in art and following your dream — that kind of vision, that belief in possibility is really important.”
Fleming has also inspired Henderson as an educator.
“For me as a scholar, he’s really inspiring,” Henderson said. “His mood and his attitude say that art can change the world.”