RADICAL ARTIST: DEAN FLEMING
UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Radical: 50 Years of Libre Intentional Artist Community is on view at the UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art downtown Colorado Springs through November 3. The exhibition features 10 artists from the first and second generation of Libre members, with most work on display created in the past decade. It includes an invitational section with work from artists, writers, photographers, musicians, filmmakers, and more connected to Libre over the past half-century.
Gallery Hours: First Fridays 5-8pm // First Saturdays 1-6pm // or by appointment // 719 255 3504
Libre was founded by artists in 1968 on southern Colorado’s beautiful and rugged high mountain plains, and exists still today as a place apart for artists and countercultural thinkers. One of the longest running intentional communities, Libre manifested during the communal living movement in the late 60s and 70s in which youth dissatisfied with mainstream society explored alternative forms of living. It’s known for domes and “zomes” inspired by Drop City and Buckminster Fuller, hand-built by the artists who founded it. The art, architecture, and artists of Libre contributed mightily to the countercultural aesthetic of the era. Libre’s influence—along with the collective swell of its founding era—can be seen today in contemporary art and culture.
ARTIST FEATURE // Dean Fleming is a painter and also one of the founder members of Libre. His often-colorful canvases are as vibrant as Fleming’s many travels through Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and Europe, which have heavily influenced his art practice. With the exception of a period in the 1970s that was marked by a more gestural, painterly style, Fleming has had a long affair with geometric abstraction. This idea plus his times at Libre seem to be the only persistent elements in a life-long adventure of pursuing freedom and creating his own destiny.
While traveling across the country with a couple of friends, Fleming witnessed a Ute Indian Sun Dance in Ignacio, Colorado that had a profound effect in the artist, driving him to rethink life. The message of the Sun Dance, to him, was to return to nature, to live the life according to the highest of ideals, to be an alternative model of peace, harmony and simplicity, to devote the art to the spirit and thanksgiving. And from that ambitious idea came Libre as an artist community. “We built our own houses, grew our own food, delivered our children and followed our bliss,” explains Fleming of life at Libre.
Artist feature written by GOCA Spring 2018 intern Katherine Latona.
GOCA is a regional hub of contemporary art, culture, and conversation. By featuring world-class artists, hosting artist and expert talks, and offering meaningful events, GOCA engages UCCS students, faculty, staff and Pikes Peak region community members in contemporary culture and life.