Once upon a time Oz Van Rosen was gifted a camera, and after a career in healthcare decided to complete her happily ever by returning to her fist love. Her stunning images push the boundaries of photography to new visual possibilities, turning light and pixels into pigment and paint.
“At 13, my uncle gave me my first camera. It was a Canon SLR housed in a large clunky black carrying box full of lenses and filters that had to be manually screwed on. I didn’t have much as a kid so this was a most special gift,” recounts Van Rosen. “The heavy black case was devoutly carried everywhere, in my everyday life and later as I explored the world. I recall a summer ‘love interest’ in Paris asking me if I would ever dote on anything as much as I did my camera.”
Van Rosen attributes her wanderlust to her parents. She was born in the Middle East and lived in Paris, Vienna and Montreal as well as New York and Los Angeles. She explains, “World views shape perception, and immersion in a new culture imbues you with intellectual curiosity that inspires and influences your art.” Through her travels the camera never left her side as it got sleeker and smaller and portable enough to squeeze into her skinny jeans pocket.
“Years later, when my father, the man who gifted me with a creative touch, passed away, I realized as I sat by his bedside during those painful and precious last days, that I had never pursued my ‘silly’ childhood dream of being an artist,” says Van Rosen, “So, I quit my job, started art school, and went back to basics with painting and drawing.”
Van Rosen says of her artistic process, “I destroy to create.” She adheres to the “Techspressionism” art movement; An artistic approach in which technology is utilized as a means of expressing emotional experience. Her process is Glitching, which is defined as randomly corrupting, bending and degrading data in an image to create an unpredictable aesthetic. The result is abstract photography with intentional and erratic image errors. Van Rosen starts most often with her own photographs then the image is put through multiple applications and glitch filters. It can be manipulated two times or 200 times until she is satisfied with the output. In the ‘analog’ days, Glitching was accomplished via light leaks and chemicals in the darkroom. Today artificial intelligence and machine processes manipulate and bend the underlying technology. The new and the traditional are sometimes combined when the art is printed and layered with hand painting.
While some people rail against technology and the brave new world, Van Rosen embraces it. “Technology has profoundly changed how we consume and interact with and perceive almost everything, and it has also consistently advanced how artists express themselves,” she says. “Photographic technology, with its ability to accurately document reality, freed painters to pursue abstraction. Similarly, digitization frees photographers from recording reality and enables abstract exploration with an infinite suite of tools and possibilities.”
For Van Rosen creation also requires complete peace of mind, and the Hamptons provides a total escape. She comments, “After my father’s passing, I needed a healing space. We purchased a home in Southampton that sat atop the ruins of the original personal estate of famed architect Charles Atterbury, which I am now transforming to its past glory. My pursuit of ‘serious art’ started then in the Hamptons. Summers in the Hamptons are about color, and a strong connection to nature, a perfect combination for artistic pursuit. I feel privileged to be in the company of many current and past contemporary artists like Elaine and Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, and Warhol and others who also found artistic inspiration out East.”
Van Rosen’s work is shown in galleries such as The White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton and in a variety of galleries in New York. But again, technology gives her the most satisfaction. “I share my art via Instagram (oz_vanrosen) which provides that instant feedback artists need to advance their work as well as on my website.”