January 16 – April 17, 2016
Inventive mechanics, choreographed performance, and chance surprises come together in the work of Rosemarie Fiore. For the past fifteen years, the artist has been painting with colored smoke fireworks. Unlike the gunpowder-based explosives frequently associated with the term firework, these silent devices release plumes of bright pigments rather than colored flames. Fiore crafts tools that both hold the smoke canisters and allow her to contain and direct the particles they release. With small versions of these tools, she can work alone, merely tilting her wrist or bending a finger—to guide the smoke across a sheet of paper. With larger tools, she must enlist multiple people to bend, lift, and pull together.
Regardless of her exact tool and process, Fiore’s paintings result from the combination of direction and chance—she selects the color of smoke canister and steers its release, but variances in heat, air current, and rates of combustion ensure that its marks defy prediction. This pairing of the planned and the accidental resonates with numerous art historical precedents—the Surrealists’s automatic paintings with candle smoke, Jackson Pollock’s allover compositions of dripped paint, and Richard Serra’s reliefs of molten lead flung against a wall are but a few.
Until recently, Fiore’s drawings comprised frenetic arrays of dots and dashes, complex fields of marks with vivacious energy. Her more recent paintings, however, offer quieter compositions—just a handful of circular forms appear to hover and pulse rather than dash and dart. These new works invite a more measured,
meditative consideration.
Rosemarie Fiore received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BA from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Her earliest Firework Drawings were developed at the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program in New Mexico; the Smoke Eclipse paintings were created at Sculpture Space in Utica, New York; and her newest tool, Colossus, was built here at UNCG with help from Art Department faculty and students. She lives in the Bronx and is represented by Von Lintel Gallery in Los Angeles.
As the Spring 2016 Falk Visiting Artist at the Weatherspoon and the Art Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Fiore will present a lecture about her work and meet with MFA graduate students. Special thanks to Christopher Thomas, Studio Foundations Coordinator, Department of Art, UNCG and the 2014/15 Falk Visiting Artist Committee.

Emily Stamey, Curator of Exhibitions, 2016