Isabella Myers' Archive

Archive Module 3

Posted on: February 23, 2010

Bergstrand, Jonas. “Untitled.” Jonas Bergstrand Gallery.

Brian Michael Gossett

Alva Design

Nate Howe

Christopher Cox


Alice Neel (NY Times)


Selected Paintings and Drawings, 1985-1995 By Julia Fish (Selected poetry by Harold Johnson)




Rothenberg, Susan. “Home Movie.” 2005. Private Collection.

Rothenberg, Susan. “The Master.” 2008. Private Collection.

Rothenberg, Susan. “Good Dog Stay.” 2006. Private Collection.

Rothenberg, Susan. “Snake in Rabbit Hole.” 2005. Sperone Westwater, New York City.

Rothenberg, Susan. “Lift Off.” 2006. Sperone Westwater, New York City.

Taken from an article in Vogue, a description of Rothenberg’s work is:

The exhibition focuses on the architecture and motion of Rothenberg’s oeuvre with a tight-knit selection of 25 canvases illustrating the artist’s penchant for splintering her subjects and positioning the fragments as if they’re in transit. “She deconstructs almost all of her figures,” says Auping. “Sometimes they’re tenuously connected; other times, they’re literally flying about the canvas, spinning around the center. They’re sort of kinesthetic, in much the same way she, herself, is always moving. She paints the way she experiences the world.”

The fact that Rothenberg lives on a 700-acre ranch in Galisteo, New Mexico, where she must keep up with her husband, the ever-evolving conceptual artist Bruce Nauman, and their battalion of canines and quarter horses, must have something to do with her energetic outlook. She takes daily three-hour hikes through an arroyo and the hogbacks in the surrounding landscape, during which, Rothenberg says, “I got used to seeing lots of different perspectives—looking up at things, down at things, and into the distance—all at once.” The unsteadiness, she explains, felt with paintings like Dogs Killing Rabbit (1991–2), a tangle of limbs against a white background, might be the reaction when those different points of view are funneled onto one canvas.

“I’m pretty painterly,” says Rothenberg. “I love moving paint around and how lively or soft it is.” That love affair with oil and acrylics is manifested in works like Ghost Rug (1994), in which roughly hewn eyeballs, representing the artist’s mother, make tracks across a white Navajo rug, and Orange Break (1989–90), depicting an orb made of two interlocking figures that seems to flutter. “That painting was sort of me finding my way into a new life with Bruce and breaking from my old ways,” she says.

The Lascaux-like Cabin Fever, part of the equine series that distinguished her as one of the original Neo-Expressionists, is perhaps her most famous work in the show. “I was 27,” she says. “I hung out with people like Richard Serra, Mary Heilmann, and Joan Jonas in New York. I was there during minimalism, and I understood the painting aspect of it. There weren’t very many of us. We had to reinvent painting in a way that allowed us to be part of our era.”

Mostly “background” now, the horses Rothenberg rendered at the start of her career were an arbitrary choice of subject. She based her decision solely on finding a recognizable image she could deconstruct. “I didn’t even know what a horse looked like when I first started,” she says. “I went to city hall to see the mounted police once to study hooves. But living here among them now, it does seem like a funny coincidence.””


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