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Steve Roden

July 10August 7, 2004

This image illustrates a link to the exhibition titled Steve Roden


Steve Roden, the silent world (topography/bottomgraphy), 2004, Oil, ink, acrylic on linen, 14" x 14"

Press Release

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to present new work by Steve Roden.

Featuring paintings, drawings, sculpture, and a sound piece, the exhibition continues a path of exploration on which Roden embarked years ago, merging conceptual structures with intuitive processes. The paintings, mostly originating from the phrase “the silent world” (the title of Jacques Cousteau’s first book), are translations of this phrase into visual systems, using the letters of the title for a set of complex rules and parameters. These systems form the skeletal underpinning of the works, so that the result is less an image that can be re-translated back into the original texts, but much rather a visual field for intuitive drifting and wandering. The largest painting and the sculpture in the exhibition follow a similar path of translation, but here the systems have developed from the translation of a traditional musical score (an 1880’s Sunday school song called “Clay Street”).

While the majority of the paintings continue to explore the phrase “the silent world”, a suite of drawings is based on an old 78 rpm book and record set called “Songbirds of America in Color, Sound, and Story”. The drawings turn the writer’s nonsense English intonations of birdsongs back into abstractions of sound – where the focus is much more on the rhythm that is the base of each bird’s utterance.

The sound installation “duet (your magnetic ashes)” uses manipulated 1982 cassette recordings of the guitar player from Roden’s high school punk band which are overlaid with recent recordings of Roden’s own guitar, in an attempt to create a collaborative work 22 years after the band broke up. These manipulated and electronically transformed sounds are played through a sound sculpture comprised of 20 speakers and glass resonators that have been hand cut from wine bottles. Here, sound reaches back into the past, layering a web of transformations as complex as the visual translations of the paintings.

Steve Roden received his MFA at the Art Center College of Design. His work has been shown, among others, at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, the Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, the Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, the Centre George Pompidou Museum, Paris, France, the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York, the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport. His work was included in “Snapshot” at the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and is currently on view in “Treble” at the Sculpture Center, New York.

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is located at 5795 West Washington Blvd in Culver City, 3 blocks east of La Cienega Blvd within walking distance of the Blum & Poe Gallery. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 12 – 6 pm and by appointment. Directions: Coming from downtown, take the 10 frwy west, exit on Washington / Fairfax, turn left, it’s the second building on your right. 10 frwy coming from the westside, take the La Cienega exit, go south to Washington Blvd, turn left, the building is in the 3rd block on your left.