Jennifer Bartlett Chaos Theory (1971-2013)

May 16 - Jun 29, 2013

Jennifer Bartlett, Untitled, Blob 1

Untitled, Blob 1, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 84 inches

Jennifer Bartlett, Untitled, Blob 2

Untitled, Blob 2, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 84 inches

Jennifer Bartlett, Untitled, Blob 3

Untitled, Blob 3, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 84 inches

Jennifer Bartlett, Untitled, Blob 4

Untitled, Blob 4, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

Jennifer Bartlett, Fibonacci, 1-10

Fibonacci, 1-10, 2010, enamel over silkscreen grid on baked enamel steel plates, 63 x 63 inches

Jennifer Bartlett, Color Study: Size, Hue and Tint

Color Study: Size, Hue and Tint, 2001, oil on canvas, triptych, 107 x 140 inches

Jennifer Bartlett, Counting Square

Counting Square, 2001, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Jennifer Bartlett, Counting White

Counting White, 2001, oil on canvas, 48 x 83 1/2 inches

Jennifer Bartlett, Untitled (from Series IV) [CN 2033]

Untitled (from Series IV) [CN 2033], 1972, enamel over silkscreen grid on baked enamel steel plates, 12 x 38 inches

press release

Locks Gallery is pleased to present Chaos Theory (1971-2013), an exhibit centered on Jennifer Bartlett’s career-long fascination with systems, color, and shape. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, May 16th, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. An illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition and further documents Bartlett’s abstract work, with an essay by Ann Landi.

“I get interested in following rules I select; I have found the visual results are always surprising… [In Series VIII (Parabolas), 1971], I understand the visual phenomenon but would not understand the explanation. But chaos theory made absolutely perfect sense to me.”
Jennifer Bartlett, Bomb Magazine, 2005

When applied to color, Bartlett’s self-imposed guidelines produce dizzying arrays, as hues are methodically mixed, layered, and dotted side-by-side in endless permutations. While her approach verges on the Conceptual, the works themselves are vibrant celebrations of line and tint.

“What she was doing sounded like Conceptual Art: she was using mathematical systems to determine the placement of her dots. But the results–all those bright, astringently colored dots bouncing around and forming into clusters on the grid–never looked Conceptual.”
Calvin Tomkins, 1985

This exhibit is the first to comprehensively trace this thread in Bartlett’s practice, debuting her newest paintings on canvas, the ‘Blob’ paintings, and gathering works from three pivotal series in her career: early plate pieces from the 1970s, shaped canvases from the early 2000s, and plate pieces relating to the 2008–2010 room-size installation Recitative.

This exhibition is presented at Locks Gallery, in conjunction with Bartlett’s traveling 40-year survey, Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe - Works 1970–2011, which debuts at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on June 27, 2013. Bartlett’s first museum survey since 1985, the exhibit is curated by Klaus Ottmann and is accompanied by a catalog featuring an essay by Klaus Ottmann, an interview with Bartlett by Parrish Art Museum director Terrie Sultan, and an excerpt from Bartlett’s 1985 autobiography.

Jennifer Bartlett (b. Long Beach, CA, 1941) received her B.A. from Mills College, CA, and her B.F.A. (1964) and M.F.A. (1965) from Yale University, CT. Her works are in the collections of Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; Brooklyn Museum, NY; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, TX; Denver Art Museum, CO; Fogg Art Museum, MA; Houston Museum of Fine Arts, TX; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, MO; North Carolina Museum of Art, NC; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, PA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, VA; Walker Art Center, MN; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; and The Tate Gallery, London, England, among others.

Bartlett has been the subject of one person exhibitions at institutions including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; The Tate Gallery, London, England; Baltimore Art Museum, MD; and The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT.

This is Jennifer Bartlett’s twelfth solo exhibition at Locks Gallery.

Click here to download a PDF press release.

related publications


selected text

Jun 20, 2013
The New York Times
May 23, 2013
Title Magazine