The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 21, 2012

Spiva exhibit pairs matter and space

By Scott Meeker
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s a simple question, but one with an answer that is much more complex.

“Well, that’s a good question,” Linda Fleming says, when asked where she lives. “I live in Benicia, Calif., in the San Francisco area. But I also have a place in Nevada, in the desert, where I work. And I have a place in the mountains in Colorado where I work.”

That sense of fluidity and movement in answering that initial question is one that is reflected in her small- and large-scale models and drawings featured in “Modeling the Universe,” an exhibit that opens this weekend at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, 222 W. Third St.

At the center of Spiva’s main gallery is a row of shelves containing a number of Fleming’s small models -- or maquettes -- which range from hand-cut paper to bronze and laser-cut steel. Each one displays a staggering amount of intricacy in terms of design.

“I love structure and how things connect to each other, and how one form can be repeated,” says Fleming. “Particle physics is not something you think of when you look at this work, but it’s something that has been very important and interesting to me -- the notion that matter and space are made of the same stuff and connect together to form identifiable objects.

“It’s really interesting to me to play with the notion that things are solid but not solid. You can see through all of my works. It’s very much about seeing through them, yet seeing them at the same time.”

Many of her small models become larger works. One of the