Theodore Roszak (1907-1981)
October 21, 2003 - November 29, 2003
gelatin silver photogram
5 x 4 inches
The New York Times
November 21, 2003
He is probably best known as a sculptor of the expressive first generation New York School, but before that, in the 1930's, Theodore Roszak (1907-1981) was a machine age Constructivist whose cool, eccentric arrangements of geometric forms reflected an industrial civilization.
This show consists mostly of photograms -- cameraless works made by placing objects on photosensitive paper exposed to light -- from the 1930's. Perhaps inspired by Moholy-Nagy's experiments in the same medium, the imagery, all in black and white, is masterfully manipulated in terms of light and shadow, thanks to Roszak's color experience as a painter. They suggest objects of geometric and biomorphic persuasion that could be otherworldly phenomena or debris from a manned space flight floating in a nebulous empyrean.
Some are rather simple: two white forms of uncertain origin that snuggle together on a dark ground. Others are complex, like one in which light-struck white circles and rectangles mingle with more shadowy ones on a ground bisected by two diagonal lines. In another, a span of light fans out on a gray ground to illuminate an intricate bit of scientific something or other hovering in air. They are lovely works that share the craftsmanship and artistry of Roszak's sculpture.