Thursday, October 17, 2013

ROSEMARIE FIORE | Shooting for Fireworks — Haber Arts Review

By John Haber

Sometimes artists shoot for fireworks. Maybe they have to, in a competitive art scene—especially if they dare to make “just painting.”

They also get to break one last border. After abstraction and representation, new media and old, outsider art and insiders, why not canvas and spectacle? For her “smoke paintings,” Rosemarie Fiore does not need to set off fireworks, at least literally. She does not, though, shy away from the metaphor.

She, Caetano de Almeida, and Reed Danziger all spin wildly or deliberately off the grid. That does not, however, preclude a conceptual underpinning. For Fiore, at von Lintel through October 19, the concept is obvious: she is painting with colored smoke. It stains paper, which she then cuts into small disks and pastes down. The work still functions more as painting than collage.

For all the fireworks, she is building on regular elements, like late Modernism. In a gallery that also shows the fictive brushwork of Mark Sheinkman and Stephen Ellis, the patterning of Valerie Jaudon, and the illusion of natural processes in Catherine Howe and Joseph Stashkevetch, Fiore’s smoke and mirrors fit right in. Her colored circles also recall Robert Delauney and inventing abstraction. They form spirals, connected by broader arcs that stain more freely, without the sharp edges of a knife. Sometimes the patterns bounce off one another and ricochet back. They never quite explode, but then they already have.

de Almeida, at Eleven Rivington through October 13, also has ties to early Modernism. The Brazilian artist favors colored grids that overwhelm the senses and, often as not, his own compositions. For once, though, he adopts sparer and more regular lines, although they still refuse to behave. Sometimes their departure from the vertical brings them closer to gray spheres, as if pulled by a magnetic field. The more rounded spheres look right out of Fernand Léger and his icy humanism. The quaintness works better, though, when the field takes on a logic of its own.

Danziger, at McKenzie and also through October 13, is most obviously at home in three dimensions. Like Fiore, she lends works on paper the scale of painting. Her pen and ink twists into depth, clustering around colored planes in gouache and watercolor, like solar panels or the vanes of a fan in high winds. The sheer density and the emptiness of surrounding paper both recall Julie Mehretu, but without the grandeur of imagined landscapes. Rather, motion itself becomes the subject. So does the potential for human transformation, as art tackles science.

Does art have to shoot for fireworks? Sure, painting as contemplation is so modernist, and installations, alas, have everyone looking for spectacle. For now, though, one might as well enjoy it. Once transformation becomes subject matter, one can also think of future possibilities. Danziger is interested, he says, in “the moment” when “new patterns begin to take form.” If one cannot have fireworks, one can always collect the ashes.

Read original review @ haberarts.com

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