SUSAN ROTHENBERG – The Height The Width The Weight
Frans Halsstraat 26
7 September – 14 October 2017
You have to start with knocking out your favourite things, or else the painting can’t change. You can’t get hooked on fixing things. You have to be willing to go, ‘That’s great. Goodbye.’
– Susan Rothenberg
GRIMM is proud to announce a solo exhibition with Susan Rothenberg (US, 1945) in Amsterdam. The exhibition marks the 35th anniversary of her last exhibition in the Netherlands at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1982 and focuses on recent works from 2008-2017.
Looking at a Rothenberg painting is an existential experience. Best known for introducing imagery into minimalist abstraction and bringing a new sensitivity to figuration, two of the most important threads that run through her work are the human touch and the nature of human engagement.
Over ten major works will be exhibited in the gallery at the Frans Halsstraat, including The Height The Width The Weight (2009-2010), a painting depicting disembodied hands that encircle a pinkish aureole surrounded by a flurry of blue brushstrokes. Another presented work is The Master (2008), depicting various marionette body parts strewn over the canvas, while remnants of the arms of a lonely puppeteer dangle a remaining piece of string into the grey vacuum of the canvas, still trying to regain control.
Susan Rothenberg, The Height The Width The Weight (2009-2010)
oil on canvas,108,6 x 129,5 cm | 42 3/4 x 51 inches
Red, also from 2008, takes the viewer one step further. Here the fragments: heads, arms and legs, become a visual aid serving to demonstrate how the human shape can be transformed into a study of space and form. On the surface, this combination of flat ground and abstracted figuration leaves little room for narrative; however, Rothenberg’s paintings often leave just enough for viewers to do their own storytelling.
Over the course of her career, Rothenberg has pushed the vocabulary of painting and created canvases of poetic beauty that celebrate the artistic process. She is considered a pioneer of New Image Painting, the title of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s landmark exhibition from 1978 that radically broke with the abstract and minimal art of the past decades. As Roberta Smith put it, Rothenberg is “the most prominent of her New Image colleagues, and her work becomes increasingly complex in its use of narrative and space.”
Susan Rothenberg, Red (2008)
oil on canvas, 140 x 146,1 cm | 55 x 57 ½ inches
About the artist
Susan Rothenberg (1945 Buffalo, NY, USA) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in 1967. She was awarded with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant in 1979 and in 1998 she received the Cornell University Alumni Award and the Skowhegan Medal for Painting. In 2003 the Rolf Shock Prize was awarded to her in Stockholm. Rothenberg’s first one-person exhibition was in 1975 in New York and since then some 80 more solo shows and over 200 group exhibitions have followed. In 1980 Rothenberg participated in the 39th edition of the Biennale di Venezia for the International and the US pavilion.
One of the foremost artists of her generation, her work is represented in over 40 international museum collections. A new permanent display showcasing her work at Tate Modern in London will be inaugurated this summer. Other institutions include a.o. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Art Institute of Chicago; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Art, Osaka; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
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