The only word I can find to capture Susan Rothenberg is "earthiness". When looking at her paintings - or even her sketches (which are just as interesting in my opinion) - you can almost see her physical interaction with the canvas.
There is so much layering going on, the end product is really only a surface. The strength of these pieces for me rests in the layers below the surface which build to form an image.
I also really respond to the space she creates. The sketch of arms works just on the level of shapes and negative space - the fact that the image references arms is almost irrelevant. I also love the division of the canvas with this horse piece, perhaps partially because that is a technique I employ in my own work.