Susan Rothenberg - Contemporary Art Part II New York Friday, May 16, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sperone Westwater, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    My paintings are still really visceral. It comes back to trying to invent new forms to stand in for the body since I don’t want to make a realist painting. I wanted to get that body down in paint, free it from its anatomical confines. I’m very aware of my body in space – shoulders, frontal positions. I have a body language that is difficult to explain. A lot of my work is about body orientation, both in the making of the work and in the sensing of the space, comparing it to my own physical orientation.
    S. Rothenberg, as quoted in J. Simon, Susan Rothenberg, New York, 1991, p. 161
    Oil paint in Susan Rothenburg’s Untitled is applied in a thick, visceral impasto to form a vaguely discernible human figure. The artist depicts her subject in an impossible body posture, a strange position where the figure’s elongated limbs raise to form an ‘O’ shape surrounding the head and torso. By cropping the lower part of the figure and treating the body in a stark, formal manner, Rothenberg heightens the work’s remarkably abstract quality. Indeed, were it not for the barely defined details of the figure’s face and torso the painting would seem totally nonrepresentational. Not only treading the line between figuration and abstraction, Rothenburg also tackles expressive territory; the emotionally charged palette of scarlets and reds and the violent, textured brushwork evokes a nervous if not painful moment.



Oil on canvas.
10 5/8 x 8 in. (27 x 20.3 cm).
Signed and dated "S. Rothenberg 1987 88" on the reverse.

$30,000 - 40,000 

Contemporary Art Part II

16 May 2008, 10am & 2pm
New York