Years after graduating with an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, contemporary artist, Marybeth Rothman worked as an illustrator of figurative work for editorial and advertising in New York. She left Madison Avenue when she could no longer resist the pull to make art that was my own and not tethered to the vision of an art director. Over the years Rothman continued to focus on the figure, and investigate it's relationship to her message and materials. As time went on the figure was not enough. She found it necessary to add layers to her work and started cutting and pasting pieces from her oil paintings. It was at that point when Rothman began to use collage and introducing family photographs from the 1940's into her work, that she discovered encaustic. She found that by imbedding materials into encaustic, it created a visual depth that provided a unique touch to the medium. The convergence of these ideas, encaustic, collage and photography was the defining moment that started Rothman on a wonderful journey.
Having become highly known for her photo collage, encaustic and mixed-media figurative paintings, Marybeth Rothman exhibits nationally and is in private and corporate collections throughout the U.S. and abroad. Rothman has also been featured in various museum exhibitions, including ‘Ripped: The Allure of Collage’ alongside noted artists Roy Lichtentstein, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, Miriam Schapiro and others at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, NY, as well as ‘Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence and Transcendence in Contemporary Encaustic’ at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, MA.
Rothman currently works and resides in New Jersey.
"I am always searching among my collection of orphaned photobooth photographs for the man with averted eyes or the woman whose empty stare appears indifferent to communication beyond the lens. These un-self conscious expressions are emblems of the genuine self-portrait and the inspiration for my series Biographical Annotation and Pilgrim Lake Library Committee. This exploration of the paradox of the unobserved observer in the photobooth is a continuation of my investigation of portraits of strangers. This examination is motivated by a wish to reclaim these lost and forgotten souls by re-imagining their biographies.
The images I choose for these encaustic* and mixed media portraits are selected individually and then again in response to each other. This curatorial process is somewhat circular as the photos are chosen, discarded and chosen again until an affinity develops among them. These tiny self-portraits are on my worktable for months until one day their juxtaposition, a swatch of paint, or a sketch calls for further development. I then manipulate and enlarge the image to allow for more intimacy between the viewer and the work. In this large format I can fabricate a memoir by weaving abstract, encaustic paintings and mixed media elements with the photobooth photos. Many layers of encaustic paint create a visual depth that is unique to the medium."