When I first came into contact with Mike Fleming's latest works, the sense of despair at first hides from you. The image you look upon seems to be desolate, abandoned even. Void of any character. That is when it creeps up on you, as if you were looking at a pastoral scene which once held structures full of hope and joy....long since abandoned. The flooding of emotion is palpable. You are left with the questions of what caused this and how can I feel this much.
What I realized when I looked was that the blocks of color were attempting to keep a sense of order which otherwise would reveal a chaotic vista with no anchor to hold you in place. My eyes kept returning to those central figures. I would regroup and then head out into the static canvas surrounding them finding myself swimming in muted colors and bursting with emotion. This latest series reminds me of looking out the rear view mirror. The past is behind me and as it fades all that remains is the haze from the bridge that is burning behind me. there's a mess back where I'm looking and the mirror shows me that it's best to keep it there.
Mike Fleming has been able to take us up to a land of chaos and when we get close enough to read the words we are instantly given the answer. His uncanny ability to instantly tap into that part of the psyche which this intense explosion of muted colors reveals also serves to show us that part of him he wishes to share with the audience.
-Brian Gochal - Art Collector
SELECTIONS FROM THE COLLECTION OF BRIAN GOCHAL
i tend to connect almost everything to music and Mike Fleming's art puts me right in the middle of a Joy Division song. Words that came to mind while looking back through his personal abstracts were 'static, cold, eerie and lifeless'. Even the titles should be great songs; "No Days Left" / "Time to go" / "No more now" / "What did you want to be"... just the titles alone take me into a place in my head that's lonely, but I want to be there. A phrase poured out of me as I scrolled through these gems; 'Snapshots of quiet, abandoned places best left alone"... Cold, abandoned beaches / a red mausoleum in a wind swept bog / looking through a rain blurred windshield after a funeral/ a splash of red in snow near a jagged ditch= Wounded Knee? Those were a few of my interpretations, which is the beauty of a good abstract; it is what you want it to be. Mike is still as punk rock as ever, he just traded his microphone for a brush.
-Phil Bjorneberg - Music Aficionado/Art Collector
"I've never considered myself as an artist, more of a tinkerer, working in the basement with whatever is at hand, like someone who makes birdhouses or whirligigs. My work is personal, yet, I hope, open to everyone and anyone's interpretation. I would never want to explain a piece to anyone or wax poetic about it's meaning. I like to put out a product and see what happens, good, bad....ugly. All in all, I'm honored to have people look at, think about my work and have in their lives. "
-Mike Fleming - (statement)
(NO DAYS LEFT) (TOO MUCH HOPE) (WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE) (THE NEW SAD) 2016