This fall, Rosemarie Fiore will be using smoke to paint three murals for Penn State on the front yard of the HUB-Robeson Center – part of a practice known as Fumage.
Although the exact date has not yet been announced, the university has confirmed that the three-hour performance will take place in the fall semester.
Lindsey Landfried, curator and senior manager of the HUB-Robeson Galleries, explained what the students can expect on the day of Fiore’s performance.
“You will see a low stage and several different artists and artist assistants helping Ms. Fiore,” said Landfried. âShe draws with great spirographic tools … They are all specially made to have smoke pyrotechnics in them – so think of smoke tubes – and they point down at the surface. When the pyrotechnics deposit pigments on the paper, the drawings are created. “
Fiore, who has had a long career building unconventional painting implements, spoke about the equipment she created with the help of Penn State students to complete her murals.
âI see my tools as pyrotechnic brushes,â says Fiore. “You use the smoke and then it comes out … there are tiny holes in the bottom of the tool that allow you to draw strokes, almost like the bristles of a paintbrush.”
Several themes in her art arise from using this technology and smoking to create pieces.
“I’m really interested in … the movements of the body with technology – creating works of art that way,” continued Fiore. “I’m interested in this place between control and chaos, the back and forth between me and the tool that allows everyone to … have a balance between the technology and my hands.”
Landfried said these items helped Fiore with the selection process run by Penn State’s Campus Arts Initiative – she said her smoke painting will be perfect for the HUB lawn.
âWe had heard the Penn State community interested and curious about Ms. Fiore’s work time and time again when it occurred to us,â said Landfried. “‘Well, as HUB-Robeson Galleries we work very closely with the HUB lawn and with the event management, and this is exactly the perfect place to do that.'”
While the murals that Fiore will paint on the HUB lawn have already been partially created, she said it will still take time to complete and is well worth seeing in person.
“It will take a long time, so you can always come and see something different from what you saw before,” said Fiore. âYou will see smokeâ¦ you don’t have to stand far away. Come closer, examine and ask questions. “
Fiore’s murals will be on display above the HUB dining area for the next three years. According to Landfried, Fiore will also show a six-month retrospective of her work from the past ten years in the HUB galleries in autumn.
Mary Edgington, senior director of the HUB-Robeson Center, said Fiore’s performance and the location of her murals at the HUB were part of Penn State’s greater effort to showcase art in a unique way.
“I think the biggest message is bringing visual art to students rather than stepping into a gallery – and doing it in an exciting and new way,” Edgington said. “I think the message of what it is is going to come out and people will want to talk about it in the weeks and months to come.”
Edgington said she believes Fiore’s performance will attract people who stop by the HUB.
“[The performance] it’s going to be colorful, it’s going to be interesting, âsaid Edgington. âWhen people walk by, they may not have heard of it and ask, ‘What’s going on? What kind of smoke and color is that? ‘”