Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Music/Sound 2011

Steve Roden

A close up, red tinted portrait of Steve Roden. He has short hair and stubble on his chin and upper lip.
  • 2011 Grants to Artists
  • Music/Sound
  • Visual and Sound Artist
  • Born 1964, Los Angeles, CA
  • Died 2023, Los Angeles, CA
  • Additional Information

The grant money allowed [my work] to move at its own pace, and most importantly, to include experimentation and failure without anxiety, towards the creation of a film that not only has a greater level of production, but the experimentation allowed me to incorporate a visual language into the work that I had previously been unable to work with.

- Steve Roden, January 2012

Artist Statement

I work with painting, drawing, sculpture, film/video, text, sound and performance—generally exploring ideas related to translation, abstraction, systems, notation and scores.

My working process generally includes the translation of various forms of specific notation (words, musical scores, maps, etc.) into scores, which influence the process of making/composing a painting, drawing, sculpture, or sound composition. The scores, rigid in terms of their structure, are also full of holes—allowing for intuitive actions, mistakes, and potential left turns. Other than its relationship to an inspirational source, I seldom know how an artwork will speak until it is finished.

My practice is still rooted in the principals I learned in the fourth grade when an art teacher, Mr. Johnstone, told me to fix the sky in the background of a watercolor project. I told him I liked it as it was and wanted to leave it. He told me if I fixed it to his liking he would give me an A, and if not he would give me a C. I kept the sky the way I wanted and took the C. To this day, I still believe that a C with meaning is much more valuable than an A through compromise. The watercolor is hanging in my studio.

- December 2010


Steve Roden was a visual and sound artist whose work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, film/video, sound installation, text and performance. With the support of his Grants to Artists grant, Roden completed seven large paintings and a film in his stone's throw series (2010-11).

Roden exhibited his visual works in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally at The Kitchen, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Mercosur Biennial, Brazil; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens. In 2010 Steve Roden: in between, a 20 year survey, was exhibited at The Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena. His artwork is in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; Palm Springs Art Museum, California; and Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, California.

Roden performed his sound work at art spaces and experimental music festivals worldwide including the Serpentine Gallery, London; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas; and toured in Brazil and Japan. Roden also released numerous CDs under his own name and the moniker "In Be Tween Noise" on various record labels internationally.

Prior to his 2011 Grants to Artists, Roden received a Durfee Foundation Grant (2001), a California Arts Council Grant in Visual Arts (2003), and a California Community Foundation/Getty Foundation mid-career artist fellowship grant (2008).

Roden received his B.F.A. from Otis Parsons College of Art and Design, Los Angeles (1986), and his M.F.A. from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California (1989). He taught graduate and undergraduate courses at numerous Southern California institutions and both lectured and was a visiting artist at universities across the U.S.

Sepia shapes and shadows superimposed with black abstract shadows.
aggregate (threshold), from FCA-supported series stone's throw, 2011, oil and acrylic on linen, 72" x 72."
Installation view of a wall projected with two images: one of a pastry arranged on a doily on a stool with a grassy backdrop, the other of hands holding a black and white photograph of a man standing,  the photograph partly cut out and in the space, filled with the graphic on the person holding its tee-shirt.
Installation view of FCA-supported series stone's throw, 2011, at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, California.
Against a white background a stone gray parabola shape curls around a warm, tie-dye red, yellow, brown, and teal shape portruded into on the left by a round, lumpy black shape with labyrinthine blue and gray lines.
untitled, from FCA-supported series stone's throw, 2011, ink and watercolor on paper, 9" x 11."
A black triangle rises from the bottom with an asymmetrical hourglass cut-out and irregular-shaped  cut-out revealing a light-gray and violet backdrop with lines resembling veins and dark gray ink blots comprising the image's upper half.
untitled, from FCA-supported series stone's throw, 2011, ink and watercolor on paper, 9" x 11."
Close-up of a candy pink and orange abstract and geometric sculpture slightly resembling one or two human figures.
shadow of a shadow (profile) from FCA-supported series stone's throw, 2010, plaster, cardboard, acrylic, 18" x 13" x 5."
Stone gray sculpture of smaller chevron-shaped slabs layered atop larger slabs, painted with thin fuschia, orange, indigo, and green vertical lines.
Installation view of FCA-supported striations, from stone's throw series, 2011.
FCA-supported striations, from FCA-supported stone's throw series, 2011.
FCA-supported shells, bells, steps and silences, 2012.
Excerpt from FCA-supported shells, bells, steps and silences, 2012.