In Mika Rottenberg’s drawings, the artist’s body serves as markmaking tool, creating painterly, expressive graphic elements that both anchor and disrupt microcosmic tableaux. Expressive yet systematic, the drawings start with a vocabulary of marks which the artist continually deploys and reworks. These frenetic symbols flirt with legibility and, like worker bees, organize into structures suggestive of factories or Rube Goldberg machines. In an almost biological process, the density of drawing accumulates to a point of fullness, seemingly ingesting and regurgitating itself in each variation. Acid bursts of color and dense, congested elements are balanced by expanses of space and opaque areas that resemble pooled liquids or holes. The visceral handling of graphite, paper, and paint dynamically connects the artist’s body and the act of drawing in a process that is both formal and personal.
Obliquely exploring themes of the body, labor, and systems of production, Rottenberg’s drawings echo the crude yet fantastic construction of her acclaimed video installations, yet refer specifically to drawing and its possibilities.
Mika Rottenberg lives and works in New York City. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 2004. Her exhibitions include the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Irresistible Force, Tate Modern, London; The Shapes of Space, Guggenheim Museum, New York; Uncertain States of America: American Art in the Third Millenium (multiple venues); and Greater New York 2005, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. She has participated in the Moscow Biennial, the Herzliya Biennial, and the Busan Biennial.