Steven R Rose

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Artist Statement

Logic is the protozoic ooze that gives life to gesture, to tokens, to algorithms, to stem cells, to fried food, and to ornamental shrimp.

I am an artist living and working in New York with photography, video, and sculpture. My work is the merging of the natural, glandular urge with the performance of formal logic from the perspective that logic can be the most natural and glandular of all urges. The urge comes in the form of a taste (what is fried chicken), or gesture (an over-saturated image of a model’s oiled and powdered body), or thought-experiment (can art self-propagate given an unlimited source of detritus?). I parse this element into visual language by rationalizing the formal components that created the original. I then translate personal empathy towards specific materials from ideas to images in a circuit.

Take, for example, a leg of crispy, greasy, moist deep-fried chicken. It is the familiar ad-absurdum — a seemingly benign construct borne from the layers of rational thought, impulse, and chance operations. I digest and process. I identify the best chicken formulas available in my geography: Mr. Chicken on Roosevelt Boulevard, Popeye’s near Port Authority, Hill Country Chicken near the old Commodore Building, Wang Yeung’s chicken on 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside. I judge by taste, by their ability to hold up to phone pics, by their color, and density. What is important is how their crust compares to their eventual suitor, an aqua-resin cast. I cast them. I ask a vegetarian to repaint the colors of the crust with an inherent objectivity. And, finally, I rhinestone the “flesh” with the finest Swarovski crystal each pink, magenta, purple, yellow, salmon millimeter.

A successful transformation is not dissimilar to a pleasurable venture in cross-dressing. The original vernacular should continue to resonate within the final image. As beautiful as I may become in a sling backless, v-neck, zip-up chiffon evening dress, my natural male attributes remain quite present and perhaps, enhanced by the attire.

The original vernacular should continue to resonate within the final work. The ice sculptures speak to this tenant quite directly. The still-lifes are set up with careful formal consideration, as one would layout a three-dimensional lacquered, glossy magazine layout, only to dissolve into a mash of their saturated synthetic and organic components. Using a contrasting strategy, the light fixture installations (If()While 2012, 2015) both mimic and resist our expectation of their natural order. The image of a swaying light insinuates that it could be caused by a soft breeze, an earthquake, or an upstairs neighbors’ joyful romp. One would expect the event to subside, to exhaust with the order of things, but it does not. The expectation is denied, but the addressed object’s qualities (of light, of movement by external force) remain no less present in relief.

The self-portraits are peculiar glances in a mirror manifested in the quick gesture. In these instances, because the logical paradigm is severe and close, I engage the moment of unsettling and resolve the image through metaphor. Over the years, I have taken on the pose of a dandy (Fundamental Aesthete, 2010), a roomba, a bare lamp, a varier chair, a piece of lard (Selfs-Portrait, 2012), and packing material (Gluten-Free, 2015). These portraits reveal my super powers; they are speculative fiction. They are the inherent formal traits lost in the noise of everyday life, like sweet, sharp aroma of an armpit undetectable in the atmosphere of a Sunday brunch with rosewater-infused cocktails and maple bacon.

Recently, I have grown more direct about incorporating the dryest of dry computer logic as the primary catalyst for transformation. The algorithm is the metaphor, our human epitome representing itself in staccato fashion. It appears clunky and oversimplified, a brutalist treaty on our sense of life. When layered, it can seduce as the intricacies and subtleties of our machines and systems begin to relate what they are, representations of ourselves.

With the Beast series, I use found detritus, such as remnants from a fashion photoshoot, and activate it using programmed fans, blowers, and other primitive devices. The controller, wires, and devices are easily visible. They operate in sequence playing a variety of simple actions in various rhythms, animating the mass. It becomes a game, where I see how much artifice I can reveal while maintaining some sense of life and breath in the collage. Digital detritus is a good target for this type of play as well. In a recent collaboration with artist Joseph Montgomery, called GrocerySigns (see Slides 18 and 19), the web application randomly scrapes the profiles of people and products (i.e. OKCupid, eLance, Amazon, CraigsList) and re-organizes the information into the format of a grocery store window sign, such as what one might find at a Key Food or Gristedes grocery, advertising a sale of Boar’s Head roast beef. This resultant image is pumped back out in digital world, complete with attached metadata, acting as a potential surrogate for the object or person originally selected.



Born San Diego, California.

Living in New York City.

Formal Education

MFA Hunter College, 2010

BS Florida State University, 1998

Solo Projects


A perceptible decay in normalcy. , Kultur-able, Berlin, Germany


Pool , Florence Lynch Gallery (Rewind Space), New York, NY

Other Selected Projects


Paper for the Sky , Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, NY

Meditation on Nothing But Flowers , ‘Cave Detroit, Detroit, MI


One-Night Only Performances: A Tribute to Guglielmo Achille Cavellini (1914-1990) ,

LynchTham Gallery, New York, NY

CISCO SYSCO SISQO , Rockaway Beach, NY

Absolute Open Canvas (Ready-Made Division) , North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY

ORANGATANG(sic) , The Picture Farm, Brooklyn, NY

DYNASTY , Hotel Particulier, New York, NY



Dry/Fat , Heliopolis, Brooklyn, NY


Hunter MFA Thesis Show , Times Square Gallery, New York

Site Unseen , Royal College of Art, London, England


Florence Lynch Presents , BMCC Hewitt Gallery, New York, NY


Fancy (Dinner and Movie Performance) , Hunter Studios, New York, NY

Beta Spaces, Marie Hernandez Park , New York, NY


Sum of Three: Multiplicity in Painting , Photography, & Video, Miami, FL

Brackish Waters , Studio 308, New York, NY

Selected Publications:

2015 , a suite of web applications in collaboration with Joseph Montgomery


Shim Index : Seed 817048 , book collaboration with Joseph Montgomery


ORANGATANG(sic) , book collaboration with Joanna Seitz and Bill Abdale