Phillip Lopate describes the shape of Manhattan Island as‘a luxury liner, permanently docked, going nowhere’. This feeling of being tethered to the land, unable to get to sea, was a feature of New York life for much of the twentieth century. New York was an island without a coast. The West Side piers that once welcomed the Lusitania spent most of the twentieth century crumbling or behind barbed wire, while the East Side’s coves and points were cut off from pedestrians by six lanes of the Robert Moses-designed Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive. It wasn’t much easier to reach the shores of Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, either: with a few exceptions, they were largely reserved for municipal or industrial use, and easiest to see from the Staten Island Ferry (en route to the borough with the most beaches). Now, slowly, the city is reclaiming its shoreline, with some spectacular results.

Gowanus Spills by Rose Nestler

 OBJECT: Heavy Oil

BODY OF WATERGowanus Canal

Gowanus Spills 2, July 9, 2008

Gowanus Spills 2, July 9, 2008

Artist Statement 

Through exploring human attachment to material objects, my work investigates the appreciation and gradual depreciation of the objects that we possess. I am interested in the material objects, which we discard or neglect, searching for places where discarded or outdated objects become resident in natural landscapes. I am equally interested in ornamentation whose form attempts and ultimately fails to imitate the natural world.  Within my sculptures, installations and drawings, I expose the lives of inanimate objects once they cease to be human possessions.

Rose Nestler is a Brooklyn based mixed-media artist who finds her inspiration in forgotten found objects, architectural façade and the redefinition of craft.  She holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College in Fine Art and Art History. This year, Rose was awarded a studio residency at the Supporting Women Artists Project (SWAP) and has exhibited work at galleries in New York and Chicago. Her past residencies include Byrdcliffe Artists Colony, NY Studio Gallery ARTcamp, Harold Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. Rose works as a teaching artist, conducting after-school and in-school residency programs through The Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Guggenheim's Learning Through Art program. Find her online at