Color Smoke Firework Residue on Paper By Rosemarie Fiore Location: Level 1, ZACH
Bring Your A-Frame
Collaboration and idea exchange inspired this commission. Before beginning work on “Smoke Painting #44”, new “Smoke Painting” tools were designed and created in collaboration with the Texas A&M Engineering students.
The resulting prototype tool, “Bring Your A Frame”, was designed by students and fabricated at Texas A&M’s design shop. During a performance at Kyle Field, the rolling prototype tool was used to paint on a 70-foot paper “Smoke Painting Scroll” at the Engineering Project Showcase event. Cut sections from the paper scroll were saved as collage material for the creation of “Smoke Painting #44” at my Bronx studio.
This project gave my team the opportunity to understand my painting process and its reliance on unique tools. Our semester long collaboration included three site-visits and 10 weekly Webex meetings allowing for prolonged focus on prototype tool design and user experience.
Over the course of the semester, my team understood my performative process and tool design needs and began focusing on the importance of user experience. Our collaboration yielded many designs related to art and engineering as well as a completed rolling fabricated aluminum prototype tool named “Bring Your A Frame”.
Process and Performance
“Smoke Painting” is related to Fumage, a painting technique invented by the Surrealists.
My version of this technique relies heavily on tool creation. I see my tools as pyrotechnic paintbrushes that harness colorful firework smoke. Usually, I invent, design and fabricate my own tools. Some tools have open bottoms and others are comprised of sculpted closed containers and fitted with wheels. My rolling tools cater to the specifics of my body and movements. They must be as light as possible, perform well and be easy to manage. To operate, the smoke canisters fit into the necks of the containers and are connected together by a series of linked fuses. When lit, the discharged smoke shoots out of the holes on the bottom of the tool with great force onto paper. Using a pole, I twirl and glide the tools across the paper. In this way, circles and swirling forms are created. The painterly process is both performative and ephemeral. Once the color pigments are fixed, I cut and add collage paper generated by the process to modify the work. Over time, the paintings become charged with marks creating fields of interweaving color and gestural lines.
“I think engineering is at its best when it extends beyond the mechanical into creativity and design.”— Rosemarie Fiore