Using cedar planks and additional materials, Rotenberg has managed to build works on a heroic scale without sacrificing intimacy, and to craft small sculptures that attain a kind of conceptual monumentality.
Rachel Rotenberg, After Words, 2017. Cedar, oil paint, 43 x 27 x 8 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
This sculptural exhibition brings a remarkable and original body of largely unknown work to the DMV for the first time ever. Rachel Rotenberg, born and educated in Toronto, Canada, studied and lived in New York City, and then spent much of her life in Baltimore while raising five children and partnering with her husband in a small business to support the family. She has lived and worked in Israel since 2015.
An artist for over 40 years, she has managed to develop consistently as an inventor of new forms through scattered periods of intense instruction and the encouragement of small grants. She has naturally been influenced by other artists, among them Eva Hesse, Martin Puryear, and the architect Frank Gehry. But she has forged a strikingly independent style, relying more on botanical nature and objects such as vessels or musical instruments than on the conventions of modern sculpture.
Unlike most of her contemporaries who work in a comparable scale, quantity, and complexity, she continues to fabricate her pieces without the help of studio assistants. The hands-on process of creating the work is an essential aspect of her artmaking.
Within a relatively conventional set of materials and methods, Rotenberg has created a deeply original body of work whose language is both eccentric and universal.
Rachel Rotenberg, Family Ties, 2020. Cedar, metal, oil paint, 91 x 39 x 9 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Rachel Rotenberg, Layers on Layers, 2021. Cedar, metal, oil paint, 29 x 33 x 27 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Rachel Rotenberg, Wandering, 2018. Cedar, cement, oil paint, 33 x 26 x 7 inches. Courtesy of the artist.