Nineteenth-century French Impressionist artist Berthe Morisot created many portraits of her daughter, Julie Manet, 1878-1966. Julie was a painter, photographer, poet, model, and art collector. She also wrote about her mother in her diaries and belles-lettres. Similarly, my daughter, Yolanda Navarra Fleming, and I are painters, photographers, and writers who’ve inspired each other for decades, so the executives of Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, requested I feature Yolanda’s art in my column, Art Scene. For me, a longtime art critic for various publications, this assignment was at first intimidating. How to write about my daughter with the same mindset as I did for a multitude of other artists? Eventually, I realized a unique opportunity that would be an extraordinary pleasure.
About the Artist
The director of marketing/public relations at Trinitas, Fleming, 54, is an Abstract Expressionist painter of Highlands, NJ, who claims she grew up on canvas—”home-schooled” by influence of the world. She creates complex, fiery and cool pieces the likes of artists Lee Krasner, Wassily Kandinsky, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and others. “I think painting is the most honest thing I do,” Fleming says. “All my work is about making the unconscious conscious. I intuit every color, stroke, and nuance, and I keep working until I recognize a complete thought, a story, or a revelation.” With awards and solo and group exhibitions under her belt, Fleming churns out works brandishing saturated, layered colors that remind one of alluring cocktails—cool-sea sapphire gin, candy-colored Pink Lady, maple-leaf-toned Campari and combinations thereof. Undulating color planes often injected with black sharp angles, bits of sheet music, or human eyes emerge from her canvases, making viewers’ senses and souls effervesce. Godspeed, daughter.