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The following review is quoted  from The Arizona Republic,  Feb. 1, 2001
Copyright 2000, The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved.

Algorithms + computer + canvas = art

Roman Verostko/Arizona State University
Math isn't ugly after all. Roman Verostko has produced 20 years of work in algorithms.

Megan Bates
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 1, 2001

Artist Roman Verostko is attempting to unite two cultures.

One is the venerated, if somewhat antiquated, tradition of Western arts and sciences, a grand lineage that includes Euclidean geometry, Hildegardian chants, and more recently, the abstract paintings of Kandinsky and Malevich.

The other is cyberculture, in which it seems anything is possible with the aid of a powerful computer.

Verostko's recent body of work, on view at Arizona State University's Computing Commons Gallery through March 9, is an attempt to fuse what appears to be vastly disparate traditions.

From "2000 Improvisations," 2,000 tiny, computer-generated shapes laid out like the symbols on a typesetter's tool, to "Diamond Lake Apocalypse," an algorithmic reflection on the illuminated manuscripts of medieval monks, to his most recent "Cyberflowers," blooming on creamy canvases like impossibly complicated Spiro-Graph drawings, the strive for continuum is present.

Although modern in technology and vision, each of Verostko's works pay homage to the past.

"I want to celebrate digital culture," Verostko says, "but I also want to connect it to our other traditions."

Verostko worked for many years as a painter in the more conventional sense. Influenced by Míro, Malevich and the Russian Constructivists, his work was based on the idea of the non-representational pure form. However, in the '70s he dedicated himself to combining his own aesthetic sensibility with new technology.

Verostko is considered an "Algorist," one of a small group of international artists who use original algorithms to generate art.

An algorithm can be defined as simply a sequence of mathematical steps designed to complete a task or solve a problem.

"Algorithms have always existed, and we have always used them" Verostko says, noting that musical scores and architectural plans are examples of algorithms.

Verostko's work is hardly simple, however. For each piece or series of pieces, he composes an original computer program, comprised of detailed instructions for generating forms and perimeters. The computer carries out his instructions via a pen-plotting machine, into which Verostko places pens or modified brushes.

Verostko is clearly a master of the programming language he uses, and he refuses to personify the computer.

But his eyes light up as he explains the difference between a computer and, say, a chisel or a paintbrush.

"The computer is a tool capable of immense cultural revolution," he says.

Unintentionally summing up his past 20 years, Verostko says computer technology holds the possibility to radically change the way people look at, make and interact with art.

* * *

Reach Bates at or at (602) 444-4601.

Read Bates' bio.

If You Go

Roman Verostko: 'Algorithmic Fine Art'

Where: Arizona State University Computing Commons Gallery, next to the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, through March 9.


Copyright 2000, The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved.

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