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Susan Rothenberg in "Memory"

A transplant from New York, Susan Rothenberg produces paintings that reflect her move to an isolated home studio in New Mexico and her evolving interest in the memory of observed and experienced events. In her early career, she became noted for her series of large paintings of horses.

Now, however, she does not find herself creating series. “The paintings are more of a battle to satisfy myself now and I don’t have a sense of series,” she says. Drawing on material from her daily life, she confesses that in her current work “the second painting seems to complete the series.”

Sitting in her studio, Rothenberg speaks candidly about her working process and her occasional battles with artistic block.

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Susan Rothenberg

Susan Rothenberg’s early work—large acrylic, figurative paintings—came to prominence in the 1970s New York art world, a time and place almost completely dominated and defined by Minimalist aesthetics and theories. Rothenberg’s paintings since the 1990s reflect her move from New York to New Mexico, her adoption of oil painting, and her new-found interest in using the memory of observed and experienced events as an armature for creating a painting. These scenes excerpted from daily life, whether highlighting an untoward event or a moment of remembrance, come to life through Rothenberg’s thickly layered and nervous brushwork.

“When I stumbled on the horse I went, ‘Okay, this can be my Jasper Johns flagI can draw a line through it and make it flat. I can take all the things that I’ve learned in the last couple years and negate painting as much as possible in terms of illusionism and shadow and composition.”

Susan Rothenberg

Art & Rural Places

3:10
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Rackstraw Downes

12:47
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12:41
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The Studio

Susan Rothenberg discusses her 2003 painting Red Studio, as well as the process she’s developed for composing and painting her pictures.

12:16
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12:06
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12:51
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