The current show on view at Von Lintel Gallery is testament to achievements obtained through years of relentless experimentation. Part artist, part scientist, and perhaps also part prankster, Rosemarie Fiore creates abstract paintings with an unusual assortment of materials, including smoke bombs and fireworks, which she explodes through a handmade apparatus, or “rolling machine.” With a unique twist on the notion of mark making, Fiore follows a long-standing tradition of challenging ideas of gestural abstraction-think Frankenthaler’s stains, Stella’s lines, and Twombly’s scrawling graffiti. But to further complicate the argument, the Bronx-based artist uses the mechanical to create stains, lines and scribbled marks combined with the more-meticulous techniques of collage in order to make her own statement.
There are two distinct series of paintings on view, Smoke Eclipse and Smoke Paintings, which project distinct personalities. Five of the Smoke Eclipse paintings (all 2015), created through a modified trash-can lid also on view in the gallery, hang side-by-side on the back wall. In each, overlapping, translucent circles of color create a lyrical sense of motion; analogous warm hued-harmonies of #42, #19 seem to peacefully hover, while the clash of pinks and magentas against blues, offset with a spiral of rusty orange in #31 seem to travel a circular path. The striking simplicity of the layered disc-like forms stands in stark contrast to the earlier, large-scale Smoke Paintings (2011-2013), the frenetic energy of which brings to mind the earliest forays into abstraction, such as Kandinsky’s Compositions and Improvisations. Created through a collaged layering of cutout forms and full sheets of the smoke-streaked paper, the end result is a dynamic intersection of polychromatic arcs, lines and stacked circles-a molecular diagram gone exquisitely awry. The earliest work on view, Firework Drawing #74, most vividly betrays the artists’ invention. Along the top edge the layering of collage is torn away, revealing a large inverted triangle of scored and stained layers of paper, and perhaps the artist’s desire to expose the substructure underneath the mechanically made marks. The balance between mechanical and gestural, still raw in #74, exuberantly explored in the Smoke Paintings, is fully realized in the formal refinement of the recent Smoke Eclipses series.
Smoke Eclipse #52, 2015, Rosemarie Fiore
Lit smoke firework residue on Sunray paper, 28″ x 28″
Photo: courtesy Von Lintel Gallery