Aug 27, 2012

NEW Acquisition: Jennifer Bartlett's "House, Dots and Hatches"

Jennifer Bartlett, House, Dots and Hatches, serigraph, edition 33 of 150, 1999. A gift of Ron and Una Brasch.

Have you seen the new mini-exhibition showcasing the new additions to the FAC Permanent Collection? Currently, there are six pieces in the hallway where the 75th Anniversary timeline used to be, and they represent a variety of approaches.

Arshile Gorky, Diary of a Seducer, oil on canvas, 1945
(image source).
California-based painter Jennifer Bartlett (no relation to 1950s FAC Director Fred Bartlett) is known for her paintings of mundane, everyday objects in an abstract yet representational way. Representational art is also known as figurative art, and it depicts real objects. It is usually used in contrast to abstract art, but Bartlett's pieces show how opposites can get along and result in one colorful work of art.

The artist's influences include Gorky, French Impressionists, Robert Rauschenberg, Dostoyevsky, T.S. Eliot among others. The contrast between the light airy-ness of Impressionist works and the darkness behind Bartlett's literary influences echoes the contrast between abstractionism and representationalism.

During her time at Mills College (she eventually transferred to Yale University), she "picked up L’Etranger by Camus, and my course was determined: art had to be dark, spare and serious. I’ve yet to achieve one of these goals...My own childhood was dark and mysterious. The books, movies and art I liked had complexities that I could identify with, and that were not part of the milieu in which I lived."

Jennifer Bartlett, Diminishing Circles,
oil on canvas, 2000-01 (image source).
Her pieces range widely in size, from a 200-foot mural for the Federal Building in Atlanta, Ga., to a three-wall, 372 piece installation in New York City's Pace Gallery, to our wall painting.

Bartlett has used the house motif and grid motif for over 50 years. "I subjected this house scene to various scenarios. What would happen if one element of the landscape left the painting in sequence, until the plate was blank? ... I zoomed in on the house, through the open door, looking through a window with the landscape behind it that you couldn’t see because the house was in front of it. What if? ... I was curious about that. I became increasingly interested in setting up a circumstance where each system I had used—the house, a different set of suppositions than the intersection piece—became a “what if” situation."

We welcome you to check out our other recent acquisitions, along with the EIGHT other exhibitions we have going on when you visit the geometric, colorful and tantalizing House, Dots and Hatches by Jennifer Bartlett!

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