NEW YORK, NY.-
Miles McEnery Gallery is presenting an exhibition of recent paintings by Bo Bartlett, which opened 13 May at 525 West 22nd Street and remains on view through 19 June 2021. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring an essay by Matthew Jeffrey Abrams.
A good painting is a good question. It is not an answer. Unlike a Norman Rockwell, my paintings most often are not easily read in one hit. They are multi-leveled and open to interpretation. There are narrative elements, but unlike illustration they raise more questions in the viewer than they answer, declares Bartlett.
The artists large scale oil paintings are visions that exist among the everyday and the extraordinary, elevating the magic of ordinary life. With reference to Norman Rockwell and Andrew Wyeth, they are familiar in their American Realist appearance, yet, have a curious, modernist twist that transcends time. Abrams elaborates, Bartlett paints strange, beautiful, disquieting scenes. They are delicate and austere. They are also humorous and bizarre. And nearly all of his new works seem to inhabit a shared world: a sort of nameless, indistinguishable, dreamscape America.
Bartlett invites the viewer to engage with the works imaginatively and become acquinted with the cast of his compelling narrative works. In Crowd Scene, we are confronted with the arresting glances of a group of characters that, although their story is not entirely clear, we are enticed to enter their dreamlike reality. A proficient and cultivated storyteller, Bartlett details the scene in Matinicus, The themes recur in real life and play out in the art. I was thinking about Picassos fishing paintings from the South of France, American Gothic by Grant Wood, and Watson and the Shark by Copley. This is everyday life on an island twenty-four miles off the coast of Maine real, rugged, life and death, but the inhabitants gather and help one another and make a festival of these occurrences. Whether warm, melancholic, or jubilant, Bartletts masterful paintings enrich the viewers curiosity and allow one to view their life, world, and society differently than before.
Bo Bartlett (b. 1955, Columbus, GA) received his Certificate of Fine Arts in 1981 from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and received a certificate in filmmaking from New York University in 1986.
Recent solo exhibitions include Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; Forty Years of Drawing, The Florence Academy of Art, Jersey City, NJ; Paintings and Works on Paper, Weber Fine Art, Greenwich, CT; Retrospective, The Bo Bartlett Center, Columbus, GA; Paintings from the Outpost, Dowling Walsh Gallery, Rockland, ME; Bo Bartlett: American Artist, The Mennello Museum of American Art and the Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL; Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe, New York, NY; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA; University of Mississippi Museum, Oxford, MS; Love and Other Sacraments, Dowling Walsh Gallery, Rockland, ME; Paintings of Home, Ilges Gallery, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA; A Survey of Paintings, W.C. Bradley Co. Museum, Columbus, GA; Sketchbooks, Journals and Studies, Columbus Bank and Trust, Columbus, GA; Dowling Walsh Gallery, Rockland, ME and Paintings of Home, P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, NY.
Recent group exhibitions include A Telling Instinct: John James Audubon and Contemporary Art, Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC; Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby, Ithan Substation No. 1, Villanova, PA; Truth & Vision: 21st Century Realism, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE; Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World, Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA; The Things We Carry: Contemporary Art in the South, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Nocturnes: Romancing the Night, National Arts Club, New York, NY; The Philadelphia Story, Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC and Best of the Northwest: Selected Paintings from the Permanent Collection, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA.
His work may be found in the permanent collections of the Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA; Ashville Art Musuem, Ashville, NC; the Bo Bartlett Center, Columbus, GA; Carpenters Union Hall, Washington, D.C.; Columbus Musuem of Art, Columbus, GA; Crystal Bridges Musuem, Bentonville, AR; Curtis Institute, Philadelphia, PA; Denver Museum of Art, Denver, CO; Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; La Salle University Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, MS; McCornick Place Metropolis Pier and Exposition Authority, South Hall, Chicago, IL; Menello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA and Office of the Governor, Harrisburg, PA.
Bartlett is the recipient of the Atelier Focus Fellowship, Chattahoochee Hills, GA; 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art, Charleston, SC; PEW Fellowship in the Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Museum Merit Award, Columbus, GA; Philadelphia Museum of Art Award, Philedelphia, PA; Benjamin Lanard Memorial Award, Philadelphia, PA; Eleanor S. Gray Prize for Still Life, Philadelphia, PA; William Emlen Cresson Traveling Scholarship, Philadelphia, PA; Thouron Prize, Philadelphia, PA; Cecilia Beaux Memorial Portrait Prize, Philadelphia, PA; Charles Toppan Prize, Philadelphia, PA; and the Packard Prize, Philadelphia, PA.
Bo Bartlett lives and works in Columbus, GA and lives seasonally Wheaton Island, ME.