Petroglyph I is a large oil on canvas by Joseph Fiore (1925–2008), who was a student at Black Mountain College in the summer of 1946 and faculty member from 1949 to 1956 and known for his landscapes and abstract paintings. This painting captures his lifelong interest in geology, geography, and art history. Though the painting is fairly abstract, notice the line drawings of animals and trees that emerge from the mountainous and rock-like shapes. Fiore was inspired by the nature around him, which he combined with references to prehistoric drawings carved into stones.
—Hilary Schroeder, assistant curator
I was struck by this painting when I first saw it hanging in the galleries after we reopened in September, and I find myself continuously drawn to it every time I visit the exhibition Intersections in American Art in the SECU Collection Hall. As a child, I traveled to Hawaii with my family, and one of my fondest memories of that trip was visiting a petroglyph reserve not far from our hotel. Fiore’s Petroglyph I conjures up feelings of nostalgia and excitement as I spend time slowly discovering the geometric shapes, organic lines, and shadowed images hidden throughout the work. His use of cool, muted colors is reminiscent of a stone cave with natural light softly illuminating the abstract drawings. To me, this work of art is an ode to the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
— Kristen Boddy, membership & museum events manager