Grids and Geography: Dean Fleming’s Travels in North Africa and Greece, 1964

January 31March 8

East Gallery

Free and Open to the Public

abstract gouache
Dean Fleming, Tunis, 1964

Grids and Geography presents Dean Fleming’s stunning 4x4-inch gouache studies from his 1964 journey from Morocco to the Greek island of Lesbos. Not only are these artworks remarkable demonstrations of abstract color painting in the 1960s, they also chronicle a moment in cultural history when an artist could hitchhike freely across North Africa on an adventure that would be impossible today. These gouaches, largely inspired by the colors, light, and landscapes of specific visited locales, became the basis for subsequent larger, spatially complex paintings later shown at the Park Place Gallery in New York City. In this way, Fleming’s gouaches are both quick intuitive responses to his travels and important transitional works within his broader artistic practice.

Dean Fleming is an artist who lives and paints in a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome in an artist community he founded in Libre, Colorado. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where he received a BFA in 1958 and MFA in 1959. Fleming was part of the Park Place Gallery, a cooperative space established in New York during the mid-1960s, whose members’ paintings and sculptures featured high-keyed color and complex space that offered a distinct alternative to the aesthetics of flatness in painting and minimalism in sculpture that came to dominate the 1960s. Fleming’s work was included in the exhibition Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York at the Blanton Museum of Art in 2009.

Curator Linda Dalrymple Henderson is the David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Art History and Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research and teaching focus is on the interdisciplinary study of modernism, including the relation of modern art to fields such as geometry, science, and technology, as well as mystical and occult philosophies. Her landmark 1983 book, The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art, was recently reprinted with an extended introduction that both augments the original book's scientific context and expands its coverage throughout the twentieth century.

Grids and Geography is presented in collaboration with the Department of Art and Art History.

Watch Dean Fleming talk about his work