Cedar Sculptures Twist with Life at SJU Gallery
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
by Olivia D’Atri ’14
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 17, 2012) — Rachel Rotenberg’s collection of cedar sculptures featured in “Wood Work,” which will be exhibited Nov. 12-Dec. 10, in Saint Joseph’s University Gallery, seem to breathe and twist with life. The Gallery is located on the second floor of Merion Hall on the James J. Maguire '58 Campus. An artist’s reception will be held Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 6-8 p.m. The Gallery will be closed during Thanksgiving Break, Nov. 21-25.
“My goal is to engage the observer in this moment,” Rotenberg says in her artist statement. Her freestanding and hanging sculptures curve, cut, wrap, weave and reach out, drawing the viewer and the gallery space itself into a conversation.
“Rotenberg’s sculptures center on simple form where the negative space is just as important as the wood itself in creating the lines and curves fundamental to this exhibit,” says Associate Gallery Director Jeanne Bracy. “The deft change in color and subtle markings and carvings heighten the organic feel of the sculptures. The sheer mass of the exhibit is impressive in our gallery.”
These enticing pieces — which began on paper and were then shaped into being — resemble ceramics in their precisely sculpted shape and shine, but in fact are a series composed of cedar, vine and oil paint. In a physical presentation of movement, the sculptures intertwine and snake their way onto the scene.
Her latest piece, “Untitled 142,” hangs at more than six feet, looming over Rotenberg. “This piece speaks to the universal language of insides and outsides, constrictions and expansions, parts; forces pushing and pulling each other,” Rotenberg says. “The sculpture intends to puzzle the eye and intrigue the mind as it converses with its audience. That my work is many things at once is what animates it and gives it life.”
Rotenberg received a B.F.A. from York University in Toronto. She has exhibited at numerous galleries in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ontario and most recently at the Hillyer Arts Center in Washington, D.C. Rotenberg has received several grants and awards, including the 2009 Creative Baltimore Individual Artist Award.
Saint Joseph's University Gallery is located in Merion Hall on the James J. Maguire '58 Campus at 376 Latches Lane in Lower Merion, Pa. A campus map may be viewed at sju.edu/map. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1840, or visit the gallery website at http://www.sju.edu/gallery.