August 17th

Susan Rothenberg
1998-99, On View
Boca Raton Museum of Art

Born 1945, Buffalo, New York
Lives in Galisteo, NM
Oil on canvas
51 in x 62 in
Accession date: 2013
Gift of Dr. Carl and Shirley Schwartz

Rothenberg’s paintings and prints are known for their simple outlined image of a horse against an indeterminable painted background, a style she began in the 1970s and for which she has become renowned. She maintains an approach of gestural application of paint that has spread from the image to the background. In 1990 Rothenberg moved permanently from New York to New Mexico with her husband, artist Bruce Nauman. The paintings she has completed in this once-new environment, like August 17th, were stimulated by life on their ranch and the light-filled landscape of the surroundings, while maintaining her style of thickly layered and nervous brushwork. The red earth of the landscape there led her to embrace color more actively, producing a drastic change in her work. She also began to play with perspective, thereby creating a disorienting sense of space and a tension between foreground and background elements.

For August 17th, she added geese into her repertoire of imagery and depicted them from high vantage point as elegant, almost phantom-like, creatures soaring across the unfolding layers of color in varying shades of burnt orange and red of a seemingly monochromatic background. While the painting is fairly abstract, it still contains a sense of imagery. Rothenberg has said of her work: "Without subject matter there is no me; there is no painting," Are these two pairs of geese frantically pursuing or desperately escaping each other? This question is given even more immediacy by the obvious brushstrokes in her heavy application of paint and heated color choices.


Susan Rothenberg's August 17th

Susan Rothenberg, August 17th, 1998-99, Oil on canvas. Acquired in 2013; Gift of Dr. Carl and Shirley Schwartz..