Kay Rosen 20.12 – 07.02

We are proud to present the internationally acclaimed artist Kay Rosen as the first to exhibit at RoofTop International. Rosen’s work This Means War... can be an activist call and the beginning of the two words warming and warningpresented by the artwork. The work can be read as a clear message or a political shout out but first and foremost in Rosen’s work are the visual dynamics of language. Rosen’s work is not one-sided political. Rather, the work is an expression of Rosen’s interest in language’s multiple qualities and possibilities via a few visual instruments to create ambiguous messages. Rosen describes her work:  

 "This Means War... is a simple one-word message arising from the subject of global warming, the identical structure of the words warming and warning, and the similar letterforms “n” and “m” in which the extra stroke of the letter “m” changes “warning” to “warming." They toggle back and forth as if to flash a warning about warming. Coloring the extra stroke “m” red distinguishes it from the “n” while also functioning as a kind of overheated thermometer registering danger.”

 This Means War... was created in 2015 for Ludlow 38 in New York City, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Since then, the work has been exhibited worldwide at numerous venues in public space. The United Nations Climate Change Conference 25 taking place in December 2019 and the American government’s wish to withdraw from the Paris Agreement in 2020 are two factors which as a backdrop frames and actualizes Rosen’s work. In 2019, the central message of the work and its call for political action is only more insistent and substantial.

Kay Rosen (1943 US) is trained in languages and linguistics. In the 1970’s she realized that what most interested her about language had to be expressed visually, so she left academia and started over as an artist. Drawing on her linguistic background, she began an exploration of the intersection of meaning and structure in her language-based paintings, drawings, prints, collages, installations, and videos using color, materials, scale, composition, typography, and graphic design. Her work has been featured in hundreds of exhibitions, projects, and publications worldwide. She taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for 24 years. www.kayrosen.com.