Artist statement

The most private moments of my life are captured in my sculptures. They are my autobiography.  They express in wood what I know deep in my bones, beneath words. These private moments tell universal stories; they tap into the network of human relationships I have developed throughout my 62 years.

I think with a pencil and paper. I draw in quiet and solitude.   I am dogged and stubborn as I search for a form. Once I find it, I swing into action.  Table saw, bandsaw, various grinders, sanders, clamps, chisels, hammer and glue are the tools of my trade. Behind goggles and masks, as the studio becomes covered in layers of wood chips, I laminate pieces of lumber, I juxtapose parts to whole, positive to negative spaces. Colors, stains and textures complete the process that allow the internal logic of the work to become visible to the eye.

A myriad of feelings flow throughout this intensely physical process: frustration, gratitude, a sense of peace as well as isolation, connection.   From 4” x 4” planks of red cedar I create and animate abstract forms that whisper their stories, beckon the heart, delight the eye and invite the imagination. I am utterly captured by this process. Call it magic or call it spirit.

About the artist

Rachel Rotenberg creates an aesthetic world of wood sculpture populated by sensually curving surfaces, intriguingly formed negative spaces, and forceful volumes. The artist begins her process by drawing in a sketchbook. Using sticks of cedar lumber she builds her sculptures. Evocative stains and colors are applied to the finished pieces.

Rotenberg was born in Toronto, Canada. She attended University in Toronto, Jerusalem and New York City receiving her BFA from York University in 1981. In 1984 she moved to a studio in Williamsburg Brooklyn choosing wood as her primary medium. Rotenberg moved to Baltimore with her family in 1994. In 2014 she began sculpting for extended periods of time overseas in Israel .

Rachel Rotenberg has received artist grants from the Franz and Virginia Bader Fund, the Harold and Ruth Chenven Foundation and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She has also received a Creative Baltimore Individual Artist Award, and grants from the Art Bank of Canada and the E.D. Foundation.

Rotenberg has exhibited her sculpture throughout the north east corridor of the United States including solo exhibits in The McLean Project for the Arts, Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Mount St. Mary’s University, Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Hillyer Art Gallery in Washington DC, The Washington County Museum of Art and many area galleries including the Montpelier Arts Center, Fredrick’s Deplaine Visual Arts Center, Atkins Arboretum Gallery, and Baltimore’s Creative Alliance at the Patterson.