Rose DeSiano brings together photography and sculpture into a public art practice. Her artwork examines cultural symbolism, the collective consciousness, and is interested in bringing to the surface lost or undiscussed topics of history. Using art in public spaces to foster community, DeSiano sees public art as an act of advocacy and activism. Commissioned by multiple cities, her photo-sculptures have appeared throughout New York City, in San Diego, and Cleveland and have received awards, including the Uniqlo Parks Grant and FLOW.17 Public Art Award. Her gallery artwork has been exhibited in solo shows in the US and Europe, featured in several group museum exhibitions; Bronx Art Museum, Allentown Museum of Art, Heritage Museum of Málaga, and has been included in international art fairs; Photoville, FOTOFOCUS, and Orange Changsha Photo, China. Her work appears in numerous publications including; Hyperallergic, Vogue, Time Out, ArtNews, and UK’s Aesthetica. DeSiano has her MFA from Art Center, LA, her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of Arts. She currently lives in NYC and is a Professor of Art at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.
Engaged in a public-art photography and sculpture practice, my work is concerned with the collective consciousness, the power of place, the sociological ramifications of photo-manipulation, and the tangled histories of photography as “truth-teller and myth-maker.”
When photographing, I record moments where archetypes and historical references appear in everyday life; I engage in the mining of photo archives as a method for reframing history, building a more inclusive narrative -- fostering empathy and social action. My juxtaposition of new and historic photographs asks visitors to dig deeper into the complexity of our past, engage and inform themselves in the need for equity in representation.
I view art in public spaces is an act of advocacy and activism. By installing these historic photographs back into the urban landscape, they work to undermine the city’s inequitable representation in our monuments and markers - all while fostering inclusivity through a broadening of history. My artworks honor the unsung members of both history and contemporary communities while focusing on the aesthetic ability of visual art to create bliss, create safe community spaces, where needed conversations and open dialogue can grapple with inequities in an effort to move forward into a more inclusive tomorrow.
Photo compositions are integrated into sculptural forms through alternative substrates. Photos on Delft tile reference lore, while glass makes allusions to modernity, and mirrors implicate the viewer—while photograph’s meaning is transformed in the process. My materials and forms aid in questioning photographic history and its deliberate manipulation of the viewer. While Interactive elements of ‘devices of wonder’ such as lenticulars, stereoscopes, prisms, and materials that emanate luminescences, allow for moments of reverie.
Working sculpturally allows photography, often relegated to dusty books and smartphones, to have a bodily relationship with the viewer. I am interested in bringing to the surface lost or undiscussed topics of history, cultural assumptions, and our often inaccurate collective understanding of our own history. The public photo-sculptures address the responsibility of a community/culture to create an informed dialogue with its markers and commemorative practices; one that takes stock in who it is serving and what message we are conveying to the members of our own and other communities.
Brooklyn, New York