Mike Fluent, an artist from Wayne, Neb., has been creating art for over thirty years. Over that time he has created thousands of pieces; he will display some of his creations at the Lee Dam Center for Fine Art, Marysville, throughout the month of March. The exhibition opens Thursday, March 2, and closes Sunday, March 26.
Fluent started carving in high school, and continued this interest when he served in the Vietnam War as a scout for a combat infantry. While in the Philippines he checked out a book about carving from the local library.
“I got stuck out in the jungle for three months and read that book several times and started carving,” he said.
When he returned home from his military service, he found that carving was a way for him to cope with what he saw in active duty.
“It relaxed me and inspired me and it put my mind in a good place,” Fluent said. “I was in one of the hottest units in Vietnam at the hottest time in the hottest zone, and I was the first guy out there every day so I saw quite a bit of action. I found that if I did carving and drawing before I went to bed, my mind was in a lot better place and there were fewer dreams.”
Over the years Fluent honed his craft by striving to create sculptures that show the personality of the subject he works with. His sculptures often incorporate the sense of movement to add another dimension to the work. Fluent feels that texture can change a sculpture dramatically, so he often does similar sculptures with different finishes.
“Most of my works use very simple flowing lines with the viewer’s mind filling in the dimensions,” he explained.
Primarily he uses steel, aluminum, and brass to create his sculptures; he also enjoys working in wood, bronze, clay, and photography.
Fluent is an arts advocate and encourages communities to support local arts organizations and art galleries.
“I think it’s very important to give the general public, and especially kids, exposure to different kinds of art and let them see that there are possibilities out there if they want to pursue it,” he said.
A reception to meet Fluent will be Sunday, March 26, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
The art center is open Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Fluent’s exhibition is sponsored by the Marshall County Arts Cooperative.