Susan Rothenberg (born 1945) is a contemporary painter who lives and works in New Mexico, USA.
Rothenberg was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1945. After graduating from Cornell University, she had her first solo exhibition of three large horse paintings at 112 Greene Street Gallery in 1975. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Rothenberg has been widely recognized as one of the most innovative and independent artists of our time. From her early days in SoHo through her move to New Mexico's desert landscape, Rothenberg has remained as influenced and challenged by her physical surroundings and artistic issues as by her personal experiences. In addition to her earliest horse paintings, Rothenberg has utilized numerous forms as subject matter, such as heads and bodies, dancing figures, animals, and atmospheric landscapes. Rothenberg's visceral canvases continue to evolve as she explores the boundary between figural representation and abstraction, the role of color and light, and the translation of her personal experience to a painterly surface.
Rothenberg’s first solo exhibition in New York in 1975, consisting of three large-scale painting of horses, was heralded for introducing imagery into minimalist abstraction and bringing a new sensitivity to figuration. Peter Schjeldahl called the show “a eureka,” stating that “the large format of the pictures was a gesture of ambition” and that “the mere reference to something really existing was astonishing.”
If Rothenberg is known first and foremost as a painter—her visceral works exploring the boundary between figural representation and abstraction, the role of color and light, and the translation of her personal experience to a painterly surface—she has also made crucial contributions to the medium of drawing. On the occasion of her 2004 exhibition of drawings at Sperone Westwater, Robert Storr wrote, “...fundamentally, drawing is as much a matter of evocation as it is of depiction, of identifying the primary qualities of things in the world and transposing them without a loss of quiddity. This at any rate is what drawing has been for Rothenberg.”
Rothenberg has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Her first major survey, initiated by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Institute, and Tate Gallery, London, among other institutions (1983–1985). Recent exhibitions include a retrospective organized by Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo (1992–1994) that traveled to Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Chicago, and Seattle (1992); a retrospective at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Monterrey, Mexico (1996); a survey of prints and drawings presented by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University (1998); and Susan Rothenberg: Paintings from the Nineties at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1999). Rothenberg has been the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant (1979), the Cornell University Alumni Award (1998), the Skowhegan Medal for Painting (1998), and Sweden's Rolf Schock Prize (2003).
In 1991, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., published a major monograph on Rothenberg written by Joan Simon.
Susan Rothenberg is represented by Sperone Westwater, New York.