Rothenberg, Susan
American, born 1945

Biography

Susan Rothenberg has greatly expanded the poetic and painterly possibilities of her craft. Born in Buffalo in 1945, she received a BFA from the Fine Arts School at Cornell University in 1967. Her first solo exhibition, at the 112 Workshop gallery in New York in 1975, met with great acclaim for its three large paintings of horses in stark silhouette. At a time when minimal and conceptual art dominated the New York scene, these works served as a declaration, however ambivalent, of the power of imagery and personal brushstroke, anticipating and sparking trends in painting in the 1980s such as the return to figuration and expressive touch. Rothenberg went on to explore other forms, especially fragmented body parts, with her unmistakable brushstroke, at once lively and disciplined. Her works celebrate the process of painting, embracing impurities, accidents, and discoveries made along the way. In 1990 she moved to rural New Mexico with her husband, artist Bruce Nauman, and her work changed to reflect the expanses of her new environment. Shifting to a higher, often floating vantage point, the paintings now increasingly incorporate narrative and memory.