Gale Rothstein had worked for all of her professional career as a jewelry designer through her company, Gale Rothstein Designs, Inc. Originally trained by a local silversmith in Tucson, Arizona, she returned to her native New York to hone her skills, working in many areas of the jewelry industry, including costume, sterling, and high-end gold and diamonds. She opened her company in 1981, through which she designed and manufactured an extensive line of fashion jewelry in her Meat Packing District studio, employing several artisans. Her 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 her early pieces have been surfacing on the websites of vintage jewelry dealers.
Though no longer producing jewelry, she currently creates one-of-a kind collage and assemblage art pieces. Rothstein’s assembled boxes and environments (Inter-Exteriors) emerge from a strong narrative and historical frame work. Referenced through re-use, the work is informed by the artist’s 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.
The artist dedicates her work to the memory of her father Milton Rothstein, a jack of all trades and one of the original recyclers and re-purposers, decades before it was a trend. She inherited his collection, and incorporates many of his objects into her assemblages, further supporting the historical and personal foundation of the work.