Shows take stock of the borough through art

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The Bronx is in the spotlight at two exhibitions at the Lehman College Art Gallery. 

On display at 250 Bedford Park Blvd. is work by the late modernist Emilio Sanchez from the Bronx Museum of the Art’s permanent collection. The paintings and watercolors depict buildings from the Mott Haven and Morris Park areas of the borough. The Cuban-American artist photographed the industrial and commercial spaces in the late 1980s.

“He would take pictures and then crop them in his studio and decide which part of the landscape he wanted to paint,” said curator Yuneikys Villalonga. “And one thing that’s important in his work is the shadows. There’s always a bright light that makes everything very flat, but he created always all these shadows that became sort of like his signature.”

Susan Hoeltzel, director of the Lehman College Art Gallery, said Mr. Sanchez’s style works on many levels.

“I think [people] love his work and immediately people see things that they know because a lot of these places either look very similar still or are still there,” she added. “It’s not a section that has changed.”

Also featured in the exhibit is a documentary by Laura Napier, who revisits the same South Bronx sites that inspired Mr. Sanchez’s paintings.

“Rosemarie Fiore: Smoke” is located across the hall. Achieved through the use of pyrotechnics, Ms. Fiore’s artwork is striking for the vibrant and saturated colors that her smoke bombs leave behind. Ms. Fiore said she first experimented with the idea while in a residency in New Mexico around 2001. 

“During that time, I experimented with so many different mechanisms and machines. I was sort of aware enough to capture the moment and transform it into something more,” she said.

During a July 4 celebration, Ms. Fiore dropped a smoke-based firework and was intrigued by the marks it made on the ground.

“I thought, ‘What would happen if I put it on paper?’”

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