ARTIST STATEMENT: I had worked for all of my professional career as a jewelry designer through my company, Gale Rothstein Designs, Inc. Originally trained by a local silversmith in Tucson, Arizona, I returned to my native New York to hone my skills, working in many areas of the jewelry industry, including costume, sterling, and high-end gold and diamonds. I opened my company in 1981, through which I designed and manufactured an extensive line of fashion jewelry in my NYC Meat Packing District studio, employing several artisans. My pieces have been sold in hundreds of retail stores and craft galleries worldwide, and appeared in many fashion publications, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Women’s Wear Daily, and several industry magazines. Recently my early pieces have been surfacing on the websites of vintage jewelry dealers.
Though no longer producing jewelry, I currently create one-of-a kind collage and assemblage sculptures. My assembled boxes and environments (Inter-Exteriors) emerge from a strong narrative and historical frame work. Referenced through re-use, the work is informed by my former career as a jewelry designer, as well as a life-long pursuit of collecting antiques, collectibles, found objects, the harvested innards of discarded and broken appliances, hardware, and other damaged objects. Re-contextualized and juxtaposed in discordant and surreal environments, these destinations provoke the viewer to ask, “Where are we? Who is here with us? How big or small are we? Are we awake or dreaming?” As we enter and journey through a crumbling amusement park, abandoned bathroom consumed by nature, or bedroom that is situated simultaneously inside a room and on an Italian piazza, the visitor is challenged to reevaluate one’s sense of time, place, and orientation.
I dedicate my work to the memory of my father Milton Rothstein, a jack of all trades and one of the original recyclers and re-purposers, decades before it was a trend. I inherited his vintage collection of parts, and incorporate many of his objects into my assemblages, further supporting the historical and personal foundation of my work.