Zemula Fleming "The Narrow View"
Opening Reception: First Thursday March 2nd, 2017 6-9 pm
Exhibition Run: March 2 - April 29, 2017
Also on view during the First Thursday Art Walk on April 6th
"As a young Christian, I grew up in a particular sect that claimed to advocate the true meaning of Jesus’ teachings: the physical world, with all its pleasures and pains, was actually a dream, and reality was completely spiritual. My health and well-being depended on my mental affirmation of these ideas. The Narrow View illustrates in symbolic images the frustration, isolation, and limitations of trying to be perfectly spiritual, while being very human.”
Throughout the months of March and April, Wolff is pleased to present The Narrow View, a new series of original paintings by Zemula Fleming that focus on the often unrealistic expectations placed on women by Christian doctrine. Alongside allegorical imagery that reflects her experience growing up in a religious household, Fleming re-imagines Mary, the mother of Jesus, from a personal and historical perspective, one that resists a traditional Western view of the Madonna as simply meek and pure, and instead embraces her as a powerful, creative, and nurturing life force.
The exhibition will include three additional bodies of work by Fleming, including the Dashboard Retirement Series and the Out of the Pocket Series. These small mixed media shrines serve as well-deserved resting places for tiny religious statues that have lived in cars and pockets, in traffic and battlefields, standing bravely against misfortune, accident, and death. The artist’s playful and intimately-scaled Doll Heads paintings, which push against notions of ideal beauty represented by porcelain dolls, will also be on view.
Zemula Fleming was born in Southern California. She has been an artist since childhood and studied art throughout her school years. She majored in studio art at Whitman College and afterwards studied illustration at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. Since school she has been both a commercial and a fine artist working in many media.
While no longer religious herself, she has a great love for the historical expressions of Christian art and architecture and often brings those elements into her work.
She has lived in Oregon for the last thirty-one years and currently is living happily on the coast with her husband, who sustains her with his love, good sense of humor, and ability to live graciously with artistic chaos. Her greatest joy is having raised a daughter who is herself an artist and who cherishes art and creativity as a central part of life.