Jennifer Bartlett: Early Plate Work, 2006
Text by Brenda Richardson
126 pages, Hardcover
Published by The Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy
In 1968 artist Jennifer Bartlett (b. 1941) began painting in what would become her celebrated and trademark style––colored dots on gridded steel plates and canvas. Focusing on the single and multi-plate pieces that began in 1968 and culminated in 1976 when Bartlett sprang onto the art scene with her pivotal Rhapsody painting (The Museum of Modern Art, New York), this important book analyzes for the first time the significant role these formative and long-overlooked works played in her artistic development.
Analytical and lyrical, Bartlett’s early plate work reflects her transformation of the prevailing Minimalist aesthetic into something distinctly her own. With beautiful color illustrations of this body of work––many of which have never before been published or exhibited––the book charts Bartlett’s fascinating progression from mathematically precise dot paintings to rigorously structured patterned pieces to more freehand and expressive painterly pieces. In the process, the importance of these works to the artist's career and to the history of contemporary art is discovered.
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