July 1, 2008

Steve Roden: Systematically intuitive and smart

Californian Steve Roden translates sound systems into visual form. His work, based on musical notation, develops from complex sets of self-imposed rules, then folds intuitive strategies into the process. In the LA Times, Holly Myers wonders what makes Roden's work so appealing, especially to other artists. "The first point is methodological," she suggests. "Contemporary artists love systems, especially systems that are largely arbitrary and likely to go awry. The predilection dates at least to the '60s, when Minimalism and Conceptualism turned to geometry, mathematics and theories of chance in an effort to eradicate the romantic tendencies of Modernism. Today, the interest seems to be as much in the failure of systems as in their integrity, and Roden straddles the divide brilliantly, often following his rules but often breaking them, exploring the tension between geometry and gesture, intention and accident, pattern and variation. That his visual works feel both systematically generated and intensely handmade, even instinctual or intuitive, is evidence of the careful balance he maintains. The second point is formal. Although conceived in multiple media, Roden's work stems from a close and rigorous connection to materials....Finally -- most ineffable but most important -- the work feels like the product of someone who thinks. And looks. And reads. And listens. And thinks some more, and looks again, and keeps looking. It is inquisitive, attentive, responsive." Read more.

"Steven Roden: Lines and Spaces," Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, CA. Through August 2.

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