Roman Verostko

Basic Info

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).

Explore Artworks By Roman Verostko

Nested Swallows Version I

Pen, Ink & Brush with Gold Leaf enhancement, 30” by 42” Shown at SIGGRAPH in 1997 this work was part of my “Struggle” series that was first shown at Artec’95 in Nagoya Japan. The characters are non-rational strokes generated with coordinates that control the key stroke (brush stroke and also shown illuminated with gold leaf […]

Black Elk

signed and dated lower right in graphite Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all and round that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father – Black Elk The Rocktown […]

The Manchester Illuminated Universal Turing Machine, Version 18

signed and dated lower middle titled lower left gold leaf done by hand   The text is a Universal Turing Machine in expanded binary. See documentation at: See also a UTM as a Self Portrait: Roman’s homage to Alan Turing is the 3rd in a series of works that pay homage to those […]

Untitled (from the Gaia Series)

signed and dated lower right in graphite artist’s seal stamped in red ink lower left A series of Gaia works were created for El Art: International Exhibition of Electronic Art, Retretti Art Center, Finland (May-September, 1991). This work was one of several created in 1990 that were part of the “family” of Gaia’s created in […]

Psyche (from the Gaia Series)

signed and dated lower right artist’s and artist’s wife seals stamped in red ink lower left and upper right This piece contains a gold leaf triangle and both Roman’s name seal and his wife, Alice’s. Alice’s name seal was “Wei Ai Li” or “the most beautiful one”. The Gaia images are named after “Mother Earth”. This […]

Pathway Series

signed and dated lower right   This is one of Roman’s treasured Pathway Series that have painterly qualities with “all-over” distributions of pen strokes. These works relate to Roman’s early interest in creating a form of computer automatism. However he never followed “automatism” to its logical conclusion. These works reveal coded arrangement of distributions and […]


signed and dated lower right below the image “plotter sketch deomnostrating setup routines, Houston Instruments DMP52, 14pen multiple pen, IBMPC, DOS, windowing and pathway drawing routine, early 1987, Minneapolis, For Anne & Michael Spalter written by the artist along the bottom edge of the paper” hardware: IBM PC software: Disk Operating System plotter: Houston Instruments […]

Cyberflower, Version 7, Number 7

signed, titled, and dated lower right   The black text-like glyphs in this work are non-rational forms. The algorithm driving this series generates its curvilinear procedures from a single set of coordinates. Algorithmic improvisations based on a single set of coordinates introduce a self similarity that permeates the form on several levels.These procedures continue to […]

Pearl Park Scriptures, Galileo

signed and dated lower right Verostko developed his own software to create this work. The glyphs on the right of this image were created using a computer code that attributed a glyph, or written symbol, to each letter of the alphabet. Text: “Philosophy is written in this grand book — I mean the universe — […]

Untitled (Elle Passe (She Passes)

signed and dated lower right   “This must have been made shortly after I returned from Paris in 1963. My father’s death brought me home for the family funeral and I believe the Archabbot officiated and I would have been the Deacon. This was a very difficult time as the Monastery had suffered a fire, […]

Poster for Art & Algorithm * Mind & Science 1991 Exhibition

signed and dated lower right Each poster was plotted as an original “one-of-a-kind” in a family of forms. Note that the text is also drawn with pen & ink. My code includes spacing, sizing, and some special graphic features for drawing the letters into my work. I have yet to exploit this feature more fully […]

Visions of Hildegarde

The coded procedures for these improvisations dates from about 1990 Notes on arrays of form: The pen plotted “Visions of Hildegarde” invite meditation through arrays of improvisation. Each vision, one more improvisation in the seemingly countless array of possibles, points to the manner in which the limits of the drawing procedure, like life, are unknowable. […]

Hildegarde Visions, P

signed, titled, and dated in graphite dedicated “For Anne with best wishes, Roman” in graphite along the bottom edge of the paper Strathmore Bristol 500 paper embossment upper right corner

West – East II

signed and dated lower right titled lower left gold leaf enhancement by hand Linear fields address the attraction and repulsion of opposites – their similarity and their difference are presented simultaneously as “West-East” or “Heaven and Earth”. The form fields simultaneously join and separate. creating a formal dynamic tension The algorithms for this series date […]

Diamond Lake Apocalypse

signed and dated lower right in graphite artist’s label adhered to the back of the frame Text is non rational algorithmic sequence. Intention is to present 20th Century algorithmic art, based on the Universal Turing Machine canon in a medieval illuminated manuscript format as a celebration of our 20th Century authoritative texts (like scripture of […]