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Township of Hanover News

Posted on: March 23, 2023

New Art on the Wall Exhibit: The Fire that Started Itself & Opening Reception

Flyer - Art Opening Yolanda

The paintings and mixed-media collages of Highlands, NJ resident, Yolanda Navarra Fleming, strike a match upon view in her solo exhibition at Hanover Township’s Art on the Wall space at the Municipal Building, 1000 Route 10, Whippany. 

Sponsored by the Cultural Arts Committee, “The Fire that Started Itself,” a collection of 26 abstract paintings and mixed-media collages, opens on April 1 and runs through May 31, with the first-ever opening reception since the program began in 2020, on Thursday, April 6 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

“I like to say I grew up on canvas,” says Fleming, 54. “I was my mother’s figure model starting from when I was very small and then I modeled professionally for figure drawing classes later on. I also started making art as a kid, until I started writing, which became a habit that overshadowed all other forms of expression. Then I took up crafting with beach finds as a Zen activity in midlife, then started painting after a guided Shamanic journey. One of the pieces in this show, ‘Elefante’ is a mixed-media piece that marks the moment I started making art as a way to get back to the way I felt during the journey, which is actually just like a guided meditation that helps you really connect with your intuition and enhances your imagination. I didn’t have a plan to do that, it just happened and I haven’t stopped since.”

Fleming is an up-and-coming artist whose style explores the emotional effects of spontaneous combustion: Energetic lines, angles, and flaming colors painted with alternating bold brush strokes and minute details. “I never create anything with any intention other than relaxing and connecting with my intuition. It’s how I meditate and detox from the damage being caused by the overuse of technology.” 

The director of marketing and communications at Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, Fleming is also an author and former Asbury Park Press theater columnist/staff writer. Her paintings become fireworks for viewers who appreciate abstract art that ignites the images relating to universal life experiences.

The 26 works in the show are reminiscent of primitive art, evoking the creation of fire. Fleming’s titles, such as “The Fire that Started Itself,” “Song for a Soldier,” “Downtown Lemontree” and “Chocolate Before Breakfast,” to name a few, run the gamut from a flickering candle to wildfire, creating light and heat. 

Fleming is a prize-winning and exhibiting member of the Guild of Creative Art in Shrewsbury. Her work hangs in various public spaces and private homes in NJ, NY, and PA. She plans to donate 20 percent of all sales to her favorite charity, the Trinitas Foundation. She lives with her husband, also an author, and their two adult children in Highlands, NJ.

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