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Des Moines Art Center features Susan Rothenberg as Printmaker


On Friday, Nov. 8, the Des Moines Art Center will open Susan Rothenberg as Printmaker. The exhibition will be on view through Feb. 9, in the John Brady Print Gallery.

American artist Susan Rothenberg is known for her nearly abstract, glyph-like paintings and drawings of horses. “I had been doing abstract paintings, using a central dividing line so as to keep the painting on the surface and call attention to the canvas,” Rothenberg explained in 1976. “The horse was just something that happened on both sides of my line.” Just as compelling are her prints, which in addition to focusing on the equine, display the artist’s interest in depicting and dissecting the human figure. Rothenberg plunged into printmaking during the late 1970s, and within the ensuing years generated numerous editions of etchings, lithographs, mezzotints, and woodcuts. As she became familiar with the technique, Rothenberg began to take personal approaches to creating her prints. This included coloring individual sheets by hand – creating unique works that stand apart from one another within the same edition – or drawing onto lithography stones with sticks of grease-soaked charcoal, in order to create an expressionist composition.

Susan Rothenberg as Printmaker features more than 30 prints by the artist from the Des Moines Art Center’s permanent collections, most of which were generously gifted to the Art Center by John and Mary Pappajohn in 1991. The works, created between 1977 and 1990, provide an excellent example of the artist’s skill as printmaker (some as tall as seven feet), and showcase her steadfast dedication to the medium.

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