ANA V. FLEMING
My current work examines questions of the ecological unthinkable: that which exceeds human sensorial capacities, that which challenges human notions of intelligence, vitality, and agency. Fascinated by ecologies of the invisible, the microbial, the abyssal, and the extraterrestrial (both speculative and actual), my work is conceptually grounded in philosophies of the non-and-inhuman, in questions of mutation, fragility, and survival. Drawing from the literary genres of speculative and weird fiction, and pulling from new materialist and speculative realist threads of scholarship, I am interested in depicting forms and spaces that both posit potential futures of more-than-human survival (or indeed, perhaps posthuman futures, or worlds-without-us), but that also probe the deeply strange worlds with which humans are already intertwined – worlds of which we are a part, worlds that infuse our organs and cells, environs and entities that dwell beyond our terrestrial reach.
Intrigued by such ghosts, such parallel presences, my oil paintings visualize hybrid creatures in ambiguous spaces; bodies sprouting, interlocking, swimming, decaying amidst spectral, biomorphic exchanges. My paintings have embraced increasing use of formal references from the marine world (including an emphasis upon fins, tentacles, transparent bodies, fluidity, and low-key hues throughout); abstracted shapes that complicate the sense of scale, depth, and environment; and flourescent, high-contrast palettes evocative of bioluminescence, ultraviolet imaging, and the otherworldly visual spectrums of space, super-resolution microscopy, and the deep ocean. Melding references from plants, marine biota, microscopic life, and imagined forms, I visualize speculative ecologies that speak to the complexity and interdependence of existence on our planet, and the preciousness of even those organisms most alien, most unfamiliar, most monstrous.
My drawings and works on paper range from high-contrast charcoal pieces to lighter pen and watercolor works. Many of these drawings serve as sketch-like investigations of the forms and interactions I more fully develop in my oil paintings. I like to think of these drawings as exploratory poems, glimpses, or cuts that still speak to the themes and conceptual investments of my painting practice, but do so in a more rapid, intuitive manner – exploring color, form, and tone in a markedly different fashion than the slow, deliberate, illusionistic execution of my oil paintings.