Anne Rothenstein

Anne Rothenstein

British
b. 1949
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Overview

Rothenstein’s enigmatic paintings are frequently characterised by a dreamlike quality. Mysterious figures often populate her flattened landscapes and interiors.

Rothenstein’s enigmatic paintings are frequently characterised by a dreamlike quality. Mysterious figures often populate her flattened landscapes and interiors.

The artist draws inspiration from found imagery, personal experience and memory, working instinctively to communicate atmosphere and psychological tension. Rothenstein’s scenes are rendered with sinuous lines and a distinctive palette built up of thin washes of oil. Often painting directly on wood panel, the artist allows grain to blend with figure and landscape.

Speaking of her artistic process, Rothenstein says, “My reasons, or intentions, when making a particular painting are quite mysterious to me. The spark is always lit from an existing image, a photograph or another painting, and I often don’t discover why that image leaped out at me or what it is I’m exploring until the work is finished. Sometimes I never find out. It is almost entirely intuitive. Finding a rhythm, searching for balance, alert to missteps, to what is happening, to changes of direction.

I am telling myself a story much of the time and asking questions. Who is this, where is this place, what is going on? This is what I think of as the noise of a painting. And of course, what I am trying to reach is the silence ... There is a wonderful Philip Guston quote: “if you’re really painting YOU walk out.” That is what I mean by reaching the silence.”

Rothenstein is self taught and lives and works in London. Born in 1949, the daughter of the late Michael Rothenstein and Duffy Ayres, she grew up in a lively and distinguished community of artists in the Essex village of Great Bardfield. Following a foundation course at Camberwell School of Art in the mid-1960s, Rothenstein worked as an actress for over a decade before gradually returning to painting.

Anne Rothenstein

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