Exposition Art Blog: January 2021

Susan Rothenberg

Susan Charna Rothenberg (1945 –2020) was an American contemporary painter, printmaker, sculptor, and draughtswoman.She achieved a place of prominence through her iconic images of the horse, in which she synthesized the opposing forces of abstraction and representation
 "Her early work—large acrylic, figurative paintings—came to prominence in the 1970s New York art world, a time and place almost completely dominated and defined by Minimalist aesthetics and theories. The first body of work for which Rothenberg became known centered on life-size images of horses. Glyph-like and iconic, these images are not so much abstracted as pared down to their most essential elements. The horses, along with fragmented body parts (heads, eyes, and hands) are almost totemic, like primitive symbols, and serve as formal elements through which Rothenberg investigated the meaning, mechanics, and essence of painting.
Rothenberg’s paintings since the 1990s reflect her move from New York to New Mexico, her adoption of oil painting, and her new-found interest in using the memory of observed and experienced events (a riding accident, a near-fatal bee sting, walking the dog, a game of poker or dominoes) as an armature for creating a painting. These scenes excerpted from daily life, whether highlighting an untoward event or a moment of remembrance, come to life through Rothenberg’s thickly layered and nervous brushwork. A distinctive characteristic of these paintings is a tilted perspective, in which the vantage point is located high above the ground. A common experience in the New Mexico landscape, this unexpected perspective invests the work with an eerily objective psychological edge."(art21.org)


John Perceval - Australian Art


 John Perceval was born on 1 February 1923 with the name Linwood Robert Steven South Bruce Rock in Western Australia. His father, Robert South, was a wheat farmer, a man well known for his hard work and violent temper. His parents’ marriage was short-lived. His mother, born Dorothy Dolton, left when the boy was only 18 months old, with his older sister unhappily stayed with their father until 1934 when their mother married William de Burgh Perceval in Melbourne. John Perceval took his stepfather’s name, and began to attend Trinity Grammar. At the age of 15 he suffered from polio, and spent a year in hospital. As a part of his recovery he began to paint.He came to know the artists associated with Melbourne’s newly established Contemporary Art Society, and through them joined the circle of artists and writers around John and Sunday Reed at Heide Park. Despite his withered leg John Perceval enlisted in the Army as his skills as a draughtsman could be used in the Cartographic Company. Here he met Arthur Boyd, and then the entire extended Boyd family at Murrumbeena. He married Arthur’s youngest sister, Mary Boyd, in 1944. With Arthur Boyd and Neil Douglas he worked at the Murrumbeena pottery, making decorated pots and bowls. His paintings of this period show a strong influence of Arthur Boyd’s work, with a joyeus brush stroke and an almost naive quality.The Perceval family lived at Williamstown, at the old naval port on the mouth of the Yarra and the working harbour became a part of his subject matter. His subject matter was sometimes metaphorical, but always based in elements of his life. The city of Melbourne became the background for a nativity scene, painted in a style that quoted Breughel. His children: Matthew, Tessa, Celia and Alice all appear as reoccurring elements in his art. No more is this more evident than in his series of ceramic angels, made between 1957 and 1962. While they certainly quoted Renaissance sculptural figures and Piero della Francesca’s paintings, the joie de vivre of these (sometimes) quite naughty figures owes more to his observations of his children – although one is modelled on the satirist Barry Humphries.
In 1959, Perceval was persuaded by Bernard Smith to join with his brothers-in-law Arthur and David Boyd, John Brack, Robert Dickerson, Charles Blackman and Clifton Pugh to form the Antipodeans a celebration of the human figure, in opposition to the rise of abstract art. His own paintings however concentrated on landscapes, and increasingly he found more nourishment from Vincent Van Gogh than any other artist.
Perceval’s bad memories, alcoholism and long undiagnosed psychiatric illness meant that life was less than easy for his family and his marriage ended unhappily. In 1965 he was hospitalised for alcoholism, and in 1977 he entered the Larundal psychiatric hospital, where he stayed until 1986.
Perceval continued to paint for the rest of his life, but although he had some commercial success, these later works appear crude when placed next to his paintings of the 1940s and ’50s. (Design & Art Australia Online )


Henriette Fauteux-Masse - Abstract Art in Canada


 Henriette Fauteux-Masse (1924 –2005) was a Canadian painter living in Quebec.She was born in Coaticook and was first interested in dance. She later began painting, being largely self-taught. She visited New York City three times between 1946 and 1948, talking to artists and visiting museums. In 1951, she received a scholarship from the Quebec government which allowed her to study in Paris with André Lhote. She was known for her abstracts, landscapes and portraits. She participated in a number of shows in Quebec and in Paris. Fauteux-Massé was a founding member of the Conseil de la peinture and a member of the Non-Figurative Artists' Association of Montreal and the Société des artistes professionels du Québec.Scholar Sandra Paikowsky says: "Fauteux-Massé’s work has a particular elegance that derives from its sense of restraint and composure, but also from an undercurrent of whimsy that discloses the sensuousness of the impastoed surface and its rhythmic brush marks."Wikipedia