Name: Roman Verostko
Date of Birth: September 12, 1929
Country of Origin: US
Gallery Representation: Digital Art Museum Gallery - Wolf Leiser - Europe (Berlin)
Roman Verostko, born 1929, is a leading figure in the computer art scene, and maintains an experimental studio in Minneapolis where he has developed original algorithmic procedures for creating his art. A year after graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1949, he entered monastic life at St. Vincent Archabbey where he studied philosophy & theology, was ordained a priest, and pursued post-graduate studies in New York & Paris. He taught at St. Vincent College and served as Staff Editor for Art & Architecture for the first edition of the New Catholic Encyclopedia (McGraw Hill, 1967).
Roman Verostko is a member of the now internationally recognized Algorists movement, along with other artists such as Jean-Pierre Hebert, Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnar, and Mark Wilson. Like many of the early artists in the field, he had had extensive traditional art training. Building on his experience with oils, Verostko began exploiting the computer’s ability rapidly to create formal variations, a process he called epigenetic, indicating a process building on random variables, similar to biological development of simple or unorganized forms into larger, complex entities–for example, a plant growing from a seed. He also made his own inks and replaced plotter pens with Chinese brushes.
Like Desmond Paul Henry, Roman Verostko applied layers by hand after the computer plotting process was finished. Areas of gold leaf, referring back to Verostko’s days as a Benedictine monk, create the feeling of a precious object. In his art and that of Jean-Pierre Hebert, there is an unmistakable spiritual element. Both have used the computer to create deeply moving, Zen-like compositions.
Roman Verostko plays the grid and circle / curves against each other, grouping his colored brush-like line shapes along grid axes and using vertical or horizontal symmetries to create compositional structures.
Art works from his monastic period included the “New City Paintings” and “BROTHER” (1967), an 8-foot load-bearing wall cast in concrete for the newly constructed St. Vincent Monastery. During this same period, he created electronically synchronized audio-visual programs for spiritual retreats.
He departed from his monastic life in 1968, married Alice Wagstaff, and joined the humanities faculty at the Minneapolis School of Art, now known as MCAD. Aware of the awesome power of algorithmic procedure, he began experimenting with code, and exhibited his first coded art program, the “Magic Hand of Chance” in 1982. In 1987, he modified his software with interactive routines to drive paint brushes mounted on a pen plotter drawing arm.
He holds SIGGRAPH‘s “Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement” (2009) and has had work included in: “Digital Pioneers”, V&A, London, 2009; “The Algorithmic Revolution” (ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2005); “Code: the language of our time” (2003, Linz, Austria); Artec (1995, Nagoya, Japan) and “Genetic Art- Artificial Life” (1993, Linz, Austria).