NEW YORK, NY.- Marianne Boesky Gallery
announces representation of acclaimed artist Jennifer Bartlett, in partnership with Paula Cooper Gallery. To mark the new collaboration, the two galleries will present mixed-media installations by Bartlett at Art Basel Miami Beach in December, with Marianne Boesky showing Boats (1987) and Paula Cooper featuring Beaver: Man Carrying Thing (1989). In both works, Bartlett unites her monumental paintings with steel sculptural forms, extending the imagery held within the two-dimensional space into the third dimension and, in doing so, inviting the viewer to step into and become part of the scene. A solo exhibition of Bartletts work is also slated for Marianne Boeskys primary location in Chelsea at 509 W. 24th Street in fall 2019.
Bartlett first came to prominence with the large-scale installation, Rhapsody, which was shown at Paula Cooper Gallery in 1976. Rhapsody, which is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, featured 987 steel plates, arranged in a sprawling grid across the gallery walls. Creating each painted plate as both an autonomous work and a part in a much greater whole that examined the breadth of stylistic approaches in the history of painting, Bartlett redefined the conceptual possibilities of the genre and its relationship to monumental installation. At the same time, her use of the minimalist grid in combination with expressive gesture and figuration positioned her as an exciting and innovative creative force, operating within and expanding the formal vocabularies of the moment.
As Bartlett has moved fluidly across genreworking in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and installationover the course of her 50-year career, the process of questioning that was inherent to Rhapsody has remained a core aspect of her practice. Her investigative approach has often resulted in exhaustive examinations of a single subject, both figurative and abstract. In her series, In the Garden, which she produced in 1980, Bartlett drew, in freehand, a garden in Nice, France, from nearly 200 different perspectives. She also later examined the same garden through a series of paintings. The use of simple, and sometimes banal, subject matter such as gardens, family homes, shorelines, and backyard scenes has also served as a constant throughout Bartletts oeuvre. Through her systematic explorations of paint and print mediums, however, these ordinary views are imbued with surprising poignancy and emotion, expressive of the day-to-day human experience.
This approach to the everyday collides with Bartletts ongoing engagement with the grid in her large-scale diptychs produced between 2007 and 2011. Here, Bartlett takes photographs of her natural surroundings in both Amagansett and Brooklyn, New York. She, then, paints the views from two different perspectives, creating a dislocation of time and space when the two are merged into a single work. As one looks closely, layers of subtle grids emerge on and below the painting surface. In this way, the real-life scene is suspended in a self-created order that underscores Bartletts seamless movement between figuration and abstraction.
The same depth of vision can be seen in her more directly abstract works, including Recitative, which she created in 2011. The 372-plate installation, presented in a grid format much like Rhapsody, produces a progression of colors, rendered in different combinations and scales and through a range of dots, lines, and brushstrokes. The work, developed through a self-imposed system, is ultimately disrupted by a gestural black line, painted across the last 24 plates of the installation. The action suggests Bartletts ongoing interest in the interplay between imposed order and free-form gesture and highlights her penchant for breaking her own rules, leaving her initial conceptual inquiry unanswered or concluding with a newly produced question.
Jennifer Bartletts first survey exhibition was held in 1985 and traveled to the Walker Art Center, MN; the Brooklyn Museum, NY; and the Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, PA, among others. In 2006, the Addison Gallery of American Art surveyed Bartletts early enameled steel plate paintings in the period from 196876. In 201314, Klaus Ottmann curated her second traveling survey Jennifer Bartlett: History of the UniverseWorks 19702011, which visited the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, PA and the Parrish Art Museum, NY. In 2014, the Cleveland Museum of Art united her three monumental plate pieces, Rhapsody, Song, and Recitative in the exhibition Epic Systems. In December of this year, her work will go on view as part of the exhibition Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. Bartletts works are represented in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, TX; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; the Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, among many others. Born in Long Beach, California, Bartlett studied at Mills College in California and received her MFA from Yale University in 1965. She currently lives and works in Amagansett, NY.