new-york

Susan Rothenberg

Willard Gallery

Like some other painters of her generation, Susan Rothenberg seems tofeel the need to rediscover painting from the ground up, more in a structural than a historical sense. Her earlier images are studiedly childish; the crudely outlined heads and hands have something in common with graffiti in the unengaged way they lie on the canvas ground. In her earlier work, the paintings’ vertical division (like an open book), the x-ing out of the image of the horse, and the fragmentation of the human figure all seem to suggest a reluctance to represent—a denial of the validity of canons of representation, or a return to a ground zero from which to reapproach the whole question.

In the new work shown here—12 oil paintings and 2 charcoal drawings—the fragments seem to coalesce through a kind of inner attraction into roughly whole figures and groups of figures that emerge ambiguously from a kind of stygian

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