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  • Writer's pictureDavid Eichholtz

Recently Discovered Series of 1980s Paintings By Dean Fleming of Park Place Gallery

Attached is a small selection from a series of geometric abstract paintings by Dean Fleming that he painted from 1979 to 81. This is the first time they have ever been seen or presented! Several are rooted in the philosophy and colors of the medicine wheel from the Lakota Native American tribe. Each color represents a direction: east, west, north and or south as well associations with different seasons, birds, animals and stages of life. Typically, circular, Fleming has adapted them to his usual square compositional format. Several paintings relate to celestial and earth elements from other Native tribes in the US and Ecuador and have been painted with Soil from the Libre artist commune in Southern Colorado.

This small series belongs to a much larger group of paintings focused on cultural symbols and their related colors. More important, they mark Fleming’s return to geometric abstraction after the preceding decade of the 1970s and his gestural abstract paintings that had been inspired by calligraphy and Zen philosophies following a much earlier trip he made to Japan.

The primary colors are a familiar palette for Fleming and a return to his earlier work from the 1960s and Park Place Gallery, which he co-founded with 9 other painters and sculptors in Lower Manhattan. In this series, Fleming also continues from the 70s his incorporation of unprimed portions of canvas in these compositions.

These paintings were discovered in the summer of 2018 while helping Fleming temporarily move out of his studio to avoid any possible damage from the encroaching forest fires in Southern Colorado. A number of never before seen and long stored paintings from the 1950s through the mid-1980s were recovered. All are safe and being prepared for exhibitions.

Dean Fleming Four Directions (285), 1980 Acrylic on canvas 66 x 66 "

Dean Fleming Medicine Wheel #2, 1980

Acrylic on canvas 66 x 66 "

Dean Fleming Medicine Wheel #3, 1981

Acrylic on canvas 66" x 66"

Dean Fleming Medicine Wheel #1, 1979

Acrylic on canvas 66" x 66"

The circle in the center is comprised of soil from the Libre artist commune that Fleming founded in the late 1960s. The soil was combined with Roplex acrylic medium to stabilize the soli in the medium.

Dean Fleming

Luna (7-79 #3), 1979

Acrylic On Canvas

66" X 66"

The circle in the center is comprised of limestone and minerals from an ancient cave at the Libre artist commune that Fleming founded in the late 1960s. The limestone and minerals were combined with Roplex acrylic medium to stabilize the soli in the medium.

Dean Fleming

Otavalo (6-79 #4),1979

Acrylic On Canvas

66" x 66"

The circle in the center is comprised of soil from the Libre artist commune that Fleming founded in the late 1960s. The soil was combined with Roplex acrylic medium to stabilize the soli in the medium.

About Dean Fleming: Dean Fleming studied at the California School of Fine Arts (currently the San Francisco Art Institute) with Elmer Bischoff and Frank Lobdell. There, he met and developed life-long friendships with Peter Forakis, Leo Valledor and Mark di Suvero. He shared a studio with Manuel Neri, Joan Brown, Bill Brown and Forakis and “poured” himself “into the West Coast version of abstract expressionism” . During that period, he regularly exhibited at the Six Gallery and Batman Gallery in San Francisco. Always ready for an adventure and never wanting to settle down, Fleming moved to New York in 1961 and was a founding member of the Park Place Gallery. Initially located at 79 Park Place in lower Manhattan, Park Place Gallery was an important artist collective and exhibition venue for experimental art in New York in the 1960s. The founding members, many transplants from the West Coast, were comprised of five painters: Dean Fleming, Tamara Melcher, David Novros, Edwin Ruda, Leo Valledor and five sculptors: Mark de Suvero, Peter Forakis, Robert Grosvenor, Anthony Magar and Forrest Myers. The gallery director was Paul Cooper. Working in diverse materials and approaches, the group formed in 1962 to explore their mutual interest in literal and illusory space, music and social concerns. The founders invited their friends and younger artists to exhibit at their gallery where together they explored cutting edge and experimental art that included geometric abstraction, Op Art, shaped canvases, minimalism and large-scale sculpture. In 1966, Fleming was also included in the important exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, “Systemic Painting”, organized by Lawrence Alloway. Moving to the Rocky Mountains in 1967 and founding Libre, an artist community, Fleming started a new chapter in his career. His extensive international travels to Europe, Northern Africa, Latin America and Asia and fascination with diverse cultures and artist practices continued to inspire and inform his artwork. Fleming’s artwork was recently included in several major museum exhibitions, including “Libre 50”, two survey exhibitions of fifty years of art from the Libre artist colony in Southern Colorado that was founded by Dean Fleming in the late 1960s, presented at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and Museum of Friends, Walsenburg, Colorado. Fleming was also in “Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950 – 1980”, organized by Kelly Baum in 2017 at the Met Breuer in New York. Fleming’s artwork was also included earlier in 2017 in the exhibition at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, “Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965”, curated by Melissa Rachleff. In 2008, Fleming and the members of the Park Place Gallery were the subject of the presentation, “Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York” , organized by Linda Dalrymple Henderson at the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin.

DEAN FLEMING • MUSEUM COLLECTIONS Oakland Museum, Oakland, California Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania Denver Museum of Art, Denver, Colorado J.P. Lannan Museum, Palm Beach, Florida

Larry Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut

University of Texas, Austin, Texas San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California

Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C. Tyler Museum, Tyler, Texas Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Nelson-Adkins Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri

Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana SELECTED PRIVATE COLLECTIONS Paula Cooper, New York, New York

John Gibson, New York, New York

Virginia Dwan, Los Angeles, California

Bob Tomlinson, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Albert A. List, New York, New York

James Michener, Austin, Texas

Pauline Kael, New York, New York

Lord Buckley, New York, New York

Clint Murchison, Dallas, Texas Allen Guiberson, Dallas, Texas

Leonard Bocour, New York, New York

Carol Schwartz, Denver, Colorado Arthur Ashman, East Hampton, New York

Jack Stuart Kern, New York, New York

Betty Blake, Newport, Rhode Island Carl Groos, Denver, Colorado

Frank Sinatra, Hollywood, California

Mark diSuvero, Petaluma, California Audrey Sabol, Villanova, Pennsylvania

David Eichholtz, Manager

David Richard Gallery, LLC

Copyright © 2019 David Richard Gallery, LLC. All rights reserved.

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