I create visual biographies of reclaimed and reimagined orphaned, vintage photographs. I am always searching among my collection of orphaned, vintage photographs for the man with averted eyes or the woman whose empty stare appears indifferent to communication beyond the lens. These unselfconscious expressions are emblems of the genuine self-portrait and the inspiration for my work. This examination is motivated by a wish to reclaim these lost and forgotten souls by re-imagining their biographies.
I fabricate a memoir by weaving abstract, encaustic painting and mixed media with photo collage. The integration of these disparate elements has become one brush to paint my portraits of strangers. The facial expression, the mouth, the eyes and the posture of the figure influence the colors I choose and the lines and marks I make. I manipulate the photographs by exaggerating, adding or subtracting physical attributes and creating illusory collage detail to help realize the story. Every color, mark and photo collage that I add to the work is carefully considered to reveal a rich, personal history for the subjects in these the abandoned photographs. When I develop a series of paintings I create a fellowship or community with an imagined geographic location or cultural bond, for example The Longford Sisters or Poet???s Encampment. The basic human response to identify the other is endlessly intriguing to me.
Marybeth Rothman is known for her figurative mixed media paintings. Rothman exhibited with Roy Lichtenstein, Kurt Schwitters, George Grosz, Salvador Dali and others at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, NY in Ripped: The Allure of Collage. She was selected to exhibit in The Billboard Creative among an international group of artists that included Marilyn Minter and Laurie Simmons. The Billboard Creative transformed 31 Los Angeles billboards into public art spaces creating a citywide exhibition. She exhibited at both Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, MA and Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, NJ in the exhibition Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence, Transcendence in Contemporary Encaustic.
Rothman???s work can be found in collections throughout the United States and abroad. She was born in Taunton, MA and graduated from Rhode Island School of Design. Her home and studio are in New Jersey.