UNITY — Unity College has been gifted with six works from The Rock Paintings collection by avant-garde artist Joseph Fiore (1975-1987). The artwork was gifted to the College by Maine Farmland Trust. It was provided to MFT by the Falcon Foundation, a vehicle created by Fiore’s estate, according to a Unity College press release.

“These works by acclaimed artist Joseph Fiore will be frequently accessed by students and inspire them to achieve a sophisticated appreciation of art,” said Unity College President Stephen Mulkey in the release. “Art in all of its forms occupies an important place at Unity College. Our students are inspired to pursue careers in service to natural world and sustainability of this planet often because of their emotional connections to this planet. This donation is so special because it brings daily reminders to our community of this artist’s amazing ability to convey the subtleties, beauty and grandeur of the natural world. That is such a good fit for this College and the interests of its students.”

Contemporary of Lois Dodd and Alex Katz and a well-known avant-garde artist during the sixties, Fiore divided his life between New York City and Jefferson, Maine. While Fiore is most known for his abstract compositions, his key inspiration was always the natural world – and this is where his heart lay.

“There is such generosity of spirit both in this donation to Unity College and in the works themselves,” noted Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, Unity College executive vice president and liaison to the board, in the release. “Like so many others, I feel inspired when I view The Rock Paintings. It is particularly appropriate that an environmental college receive works that convey the beauty and opportunity for personal discovery of the natural world. Our entire community is thankful and delighted to receive this donation.”

During his lifetime, Fiore was an avid supporter of Maine Farmland Trust. Fiore’s family created a foundation after the artist passed, and due to the existing relationship with Maine Farmland Trust, the foundation gave a large collection of Fiore’s “Rock Paintings,” also known as the Geological Works, to Maine Farmland Trust to re-distribute among organizations throughout Maine which appreciate Maine’s geology and natural environment. Unity College has been selected as one of the first recipients and will take possession of this gift in the fall of this year.

“The generous gift of the Fiore Rock paintings is deeply appreciated,” noted Unity College Professor of Art Ben Potter in the release. “It was a rare pleasure to walk into a room and pick out which paintings we might want. The scale, color and composition of our new pieces are beautifully nuanced, and tread the line between representation and abstraction. The simple subject matter of the rocks is perfectly appropriate for our college, as all of us up here at Unity are striving to understand and preserve the world in grand and subtle ways.”

Anna Abaldo, of Maine Farmland Trust and Gallery Curator at the Firehouse Gallery, in Damariscotta, says the gift is a perfect fit.

“We are so pleased to be able to provide this gift to Unity College, because the College clearly shares Joe Fiore’s love of nature,” Abaldo said in the release.

There will be a major exhibit of Fiore’s rock Paintings at the Firehouse Gallery throughout the summer. The gift to Unity College will be transferred after a special closing reception in September.

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