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Mixed Mantras

Jun 5–29, 2014

Image Gallery

Mixed Mantras

Jun 5–29, 2014

June 5 – June 29, 2014
Gallery 4

Featuring Virginia Fleck

Contemporary at Blue Star Art Museum announces “Mixed Mantras,” an exhibition by Austin, TX based artist Virginia Fleck, from June 5 through June 29, 2014. An Opening Reception will take place Thursday, June 5 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, and is open and free to the public.

Watch episode 3 of Open Studios and listen to Virginia discuss her work.


We are living in the age of Hollywood Buddhism and celebrity yoga. There is an unprecedented proliferation of spas, yoga studios, and meditation centers replete with lines of clothing and accessories tailored to accentuate the sexier aspects of spiritual practice.  The desperate need among advertisers to divine our intimate truths has indelibly linked consumerism to culture.

A mandala is a universal, non-religious tool for meditation typically composed of highly decorative, symmetrical patterns. While a mandala is not sacred per se, they do appear, in some form, in almost every religion or spiritual practice. The carefully chosen symbols and imagery of a traditional mandala imbue it with a meaningfulness that provides guidance on ones path to enlightenment.

Thanks in part to electronic media and social networking sites we are continually monitored, manipulated and seduced by marketing campaigns that appeal to our conceits as consumers. The imagery on each plastic bag is designed by advertisers to cause instant association with worldly acquisitions. My choice of media, plastic bags, imbues my seemingly irreverent mandalas with a contemporary narrative that allows me to analyze the activity of consumerism as a spiritual encounter.

These mandalas are intricately crafted, large scaled works that reference painting, but are created by collaging pieces of detritus from a consumerist society in a way that exposes the efforts of advertisers to influence the masses. The resulting works, each crafted from thousands of pieces of used plastic bags imprinted with familiar logos and slogans can be both humorous and unnerving.  These large ebullient mandalas are a manic explosion of consumerist excess that contain and brand our passions while attesting to our belief in the American Dream.


Since 2002, Virginia Fleck has been working exclusively with up-cycled plastic bags creating site-specific, ecologically conscious artworks that reveal the beauty of the disposable items that continually pass through our hands. Fleck’s artwork has been commissioned for many high profile green buildings including the US Embassy in Rwanda, Whole Foods World Head Quarters in Austin TX, NYU Hospital in New York City and Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin TX.

Virginia Fleck’s work has been exhibited widely in The United States and Europe. In 2012 Fleck’s work was included in the international biennial Manifesta 9, in Belgium. Her work has been featured at international art fairs including: Art Forum Berlin, Pulse Miami and New York, Arte Fiera in Bologna Italy. Her work appears in many prestigious corporate and private collections including Casa Golinelli in Bologna, Italy.  In 2007, Ms. Fleck won the juror’s award for the 2007 Texas Biennial and was nominated for the Texas Prize. Fleck’s work has been written about and reviewed in many publications including Public Art Review, Voice of Germany, Sculpture Magazine, Artlies!, Metropolitan Home, Western Interiors and Design, Glasstire, Houston Press, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, and the Boston Globe.