Jennifer Losch Bartlett (b. 1941, Long Beach, CA) studied at Mills College in California and graduated from Yale University before moving to New York City in 1967. Within her systematic and expansive painting practice, she consistently explores the environments she inhabits and, through multiple iterations of the same image or theme, exhausts their possibilities for representation.
Her monumental piece Rhapsody (1975–76), which is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and for which she gained early notoriety, is an ambitious multi-part painting on 987 enameled steel plates with silkscreened grids—a format she invented that was inspired by subway signs in New York City. As a totalizing artwork, or gesamtkunstwerk, and a lyrical conversation between mathematical abstraction and painterly iconography, Rhapsody in many ways laid a roadmap for her entire career, touching upon many if not all of the subjects and styles she would explore further in subsequent bodies of work.
Bartlett often works in series and oscillates between painting on steel plates and painting on canvas, occasionally combining the two as she did for her public commission Swimmers Atlanta (Atlanta Courthouse, 1979). Conceptual and novelistic, her work raises and revisits vernacular themes, including the icon of a house that she developed in her celebrated Addresses series (1976–78), and the multiple scenes of her home and garden over the course of a day in the series, Air: 24 Hours (1994). In her early work, mathematical constructs and conceptual games guide her process, and color indexes and grid-based patterns pervade.
Jennifer Bartlett’s first retrospective was held in 1985 at the Walker Art Center, MN, and traveled to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; the Brooklyn Museum, NY; and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA. In 2006, the Addison Gallery of American Art presented a survey of Bartlett's early enameled steel plate paintings in the period from 1968–76 (catalog available). In 2013–14, Klaus Ottmann curated her second traveling survey, Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe—Works 1970–2011, at 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.
Bartlett’s 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.
Locks Gallery has represented the artist for over 25 years.