Victoria Roth

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What is my artwork about?

I make large abstract paintings that are of the body. And I paint to articulate a new subjective body that is pulpous, beastly, active. The making process mobilizes my physicality intensely— I add, rub, sand, brush and erase to activate my surfaces into beings. A sense of urgency through movement and rhythm pulsates within a structured play between color, line and anthropomorphic shapes. Suffused with inner light, my language of amassed marks and traces releases a temperature and a sense of mood specific in each work.

Artist Statement

I transfer my physcial energy and sense of being in the world into images that summon the body, that are of the body. I use vibrant colors to make forms that invoke the body. These shapes are beastly and muscular. Their heafty limbs protrude from a fleshy core, pushing and extending over to the edges of the picture plane—bodily presences fully active in a busy painterly environment. Organic and monsturous (Leaper), sensuously red and carnal (Twist in Purple, Sunset Flesh) or charged with animality (Presentation, Night Approach), these bodies are my beasts, my monsters without gender gently pulling the viewer in with their weight and desire. The invitation is to feel, to wonder and to continue to imagine these bodies in flux.

My painting practice begins with a heightened sense of my own physicality. I size my paintings to match my own stretched-out body frame engaging me with a near-athletic or performance-like quality. I approach my surfaces like choreographies as I constantly rely on movement, repetition, erasure and readjustment. I continuously add and remove thin layers of oil paint, embedding the surface with traces and expunctions, trips and cover-ups. This process informs a collection of imprints and memory strata. It is the vigorous gestures of addition and subtraction that excite me throughout the making of a picture.

The anthropomorphic beings, whether alone or intertwined in complicit coupling, are always in motion as I make them they leap, bend, embrace, stretch, dive, slide or travel across and through their landscape. Here, images have their internal logic in which figure interweaves with all-over ground, where masse and line grow in and out of each other and where space simultaneously flattens and recedes. Motion keeps expanding upon itself through a sense of intrinsic circularity.

I interrupt this seemingly hermetic other-scape by introducing “intruders” into the picture plane, white ghostly arms, ice-cold blue shapes. They invite the viewer to enter and participate in the movement of the image, metaphorically connecting the painterly and the human world. Here, I associate with the organic and participatory function of Lygia Clark’s Bichos (“Creatures”), a series of metal sculptures from the 1950s that called to be held, manipulated and changed by the viewer.

My beasts, active corpuses of paint, also act as vessels for the language of paint itself. The scratching, sanding, reworking that oil paint allows yields an alphabet of marks embedded in their flesh — thick, thin, luscious, dry. At the core of Night Walk, it becomes a kind of meta-language, the red and blue marks acting as inscriptions defining the body. In this sense, my figures are body-language communicating energy and essence through the expressive signs of colour, mark and movement.

Part-human, part-vegetal, part-animal, my paintings are in a constant state of becoming, as their inner movement progresses within the canvas and towards a potential for further realization beyond the frame (onto other canvases, in the minds of the viewers, in unconscious moments). This continuous coming into being is symbiotic with my ultimate quest and imperious desire for painting: that its layers of meaning continuously unfold, expand and multiply through time.

 

CV

b. 1986 in Paris, France
Lives and works in Queens, NY

EDUCATION

2014       MFA Visual Arts, Columbia University, New York, NY

2008       BA magna cum laude and Honors, History of Art & Visual Arts, Brown University, Providence, RI

EXHIBITIONS

2014       Le Show des Amis, Show Room Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY

2014       Leaning Steeples, Show Room Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY

2014       Columbia MFA Thesis Show, Fisher Landau Center for Art, Long Island City, NY

2014       Networking Tips for Shy People, 200 Livingston, Brooklyn, NY

2013       Columbia MFA First Year Show, Wallach Gallery, New York, NY

2013       Magical Thinking, 177 Livingston, Brooklyn, NY

2012       Tape Modern No.26 RIP, Tape Modern, Berlin, DE

2011       Metrospective 1.0, Program Gallery, Berlin, DE

2010       The Portrait Show, New Bedford Art Museum, MA, US

2010       Barbar, Apartment Gallery, Berlin, DE

2008       Senior Honors Show, Sarah Doyle Women’s Center Gallery, Providence, RI

2008       Show Me Some Portraits, Senior Honors Show, List Art Center, Brown University, Providence, RI

2008       Annual Juried Show, Bell Gallery, Providence, RI

AWARDS

2015       Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program Awardee

2015       Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant Nominee

2014       Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant Nominee

2013       Emily Fisher Landau Fellowship

2012       Pincus Kossow Fellowship

2008       Roberta Joslin Award for Excellence in Art

CURATORIAL

2014       Co-curator of Pale Fire featuring Michael Berryhill, Lukas Geronimas, Daniel Heidkamp,

Ryan Johnson, Anne Neukamp, Bea Parsons, Mary Reid Kelly, Alexander Roth,

Shahar Yahalom; LeRoy Neiman Gallery, New York, NY

COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS

2011       Prisma, Norma Mangione Gallery, Turin, IT (performance in collaboration with Rafael Danke)

2010       Prisma, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, DE (performance in collaboration with Rafael Danke)

2010       Form-it-Able, Kreuzberg Theater, Berlin, DE (performance in collaboration with Nezaket Ekici)

 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

2014       Teaching Assistant, Columbia University, New York, NY (Drawing II, Halsey Rodman)

Assisted in teaching students to expand and deepen their drawing techniques

and to think conceptually about the medium; taught a class and assigned homework

throughout the semester

2013       Teaching Assistant, Columbia University, New York, NY (Painting I, Anna Conway)

Assisted in teaching students the basics of oil painting involving color mixing, painting from

observation, the nude and eventually the imagination; taught a class on portraiture and

assigned homework throughout the semester