Jennifer Bartlett’s 1998 breakthrough exhibition at the Locks Gallery in Philadelphia was a dramatic re-invention of her own iconographic image of a house, a simple triangle atop a square, first seen in her 1970 masterpiece Rhapsody. The new paintings also re-invented its grid structure. In 1998 the symbolic house was kept at a distance by the grid like the innumerable artifices that kept Lana Turner always at a distance from the audience in Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.
In her current exhibition, Bartlett, in a brilliant new evolution, has taken the simple shapes she used to describe the grid and forced them to riot, warping space and possibly time. Layering her simple forms over and over in a circus of color, these new paintings are intensely complex and sophisticated. At critical points throughout her career, Bartlett has introduced an entirely new visual language. This is one of those moments.
Recent museum exhibitions by Jennifer Bartlett include the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Her work is regularly exhibited throughout the world and is included in most major museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The sixth monograph on her work will be published this fall.