FVNMA Mourns The Loss And Celebrates The Life Of Shellie Fleming

Monday, December 30th, 2013 » By kshort » See more posts from Other

Shellie Fleming

As you may already know, FVNMA and SAIC have experienced a profound loss in the death of Professor Shellie Fleming. a dear colleague and friend, fellow artist and teacher, Shellie’s extensive record of teaching and accomplishments is detailed in the message below from the Dean. Shellie’s work lives on with us, in the fabric of our own lives and shared experiences.

– jonCates, Chair, FVNMA
Dear colleagues,

It is with immense sadness that I write to you of the passing of our colleague, Shellie Fleming. Shellie was an exceptional teacher and artist whose passion for her subject, commitment to students, steadiness of conviction about art and education, loyalty to her department and the school, and wonderfully wry humor will be greatly missed. Shellie passed away on Monday, December 30 after an extended illness. She insisted on teaching until the end of the semester despite great fatigue and discomfort, but this was her formidable character—fearless and committed.

Shellie joined the school in 1990 as an Assistant Professor in what then was the Department of Film. She received tenure in 1996 and full professorship in 2005 in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation. In her 23 years at SAIC, she taught thousands of students at every level, from introductory courses for first year students to graduate seminars, and earned the Chairman’s Award as an exceptional teacher and colleague in 2011. Shellie believed in the shared governance of our school and served on numerous committees throughout the years with consistently thoughtful opinion and a style of graceful debate.

Shellie made many important films in her career that were shown around the world including Graffito (2012), Human Nature (2011), Life/Expectancy (2000), Devotio Moderna (1993), Left-Handed Memories (1989), Invitation to the Dance (1984), and many more. Several years ago she began installation work as well, and a stunning example was presented at last year’s sabbatical show. Her colleague and friend Frédéric Moffet, also relays:

“One of the most amazing and private parts of her art career is that after her first battle with cancer and the loss of her partner (at the same time), she turned to street art. As surprising as this may sound, it was the perfect match for her. She was always invested in the ephemeral, in the experience, never in the purchasable art object. Graffiti allowed her to work outside the system, in anonymity. Her art became available to all who paid attention, who walked off the beaten track.”

Shellie Fleming left us too soon as there was more for her to say, more for her to make, and many more students to guide and inspire. But we will, nonetheless, remember her commanding spirit always and “continue to pay attention” to the world around us in her honor.

Lisa Wainwright
Dean of Faculty

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