Press Release

Locks Gallery is pleased to present In the Garden (1980–83), an exhibition that reunites the acclaimed paintings from Jennifer Bartlett’s early 1980s series. The works will be on view August 1 through September 27, 2014 with a reception on Friday, September 5th, from 5:30–7:30 pm. A fully-illustrated catalog, with an essay by critic Gregory Volk, accompanies the works on view.

This exhibition coincides with Epic Systems, an exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art (September 7, 2014 though February 22, 2015) that will unite Jennifer Bartlett’s three career-spanning monumental enameled steel plate paintings: Rhapsody (1975–76), Song (2007), and Recitative (2009–10). This pairing of exhibitions represents how Bartlett’s career has moved fluidly between Minimalism’s coolness and a distinctly contemporary return to realism, always utilizing a systematic approach to the conceptual realization of each project. Both Rhapsody and In the Garden are simultaneously a pictorial world unto themselves and a foreshadowing road map of future projects in her career.

During and after her travels to a villa in Nice, France in 1979–80, Jennifer Bartlett embarked on an ambitious freehand drawing project of nearly 200 unique perspectives, experimenting with countless modes of representation of the villa’s garden. After her well-celebrated gallery installations of the works on paper, Bartlett embarked on equally riveting paintings that experimented with serial perspectives of the same scene and psychologically charged re-imaginings of her surroundings.

Writer Gregory Volk notes: “The remarkable thing is how this exhaustive and systematic, yet extremely diverse anatomy of a banal backyard scene winds up so emotive and complicatedly human, suffused with longing and alienation, grace and agitation, loveliness and unease.” Bartlett’s In the Garden continues to reveal its true urgency through of the artist’s cinematic relationship to painting from photographs, the felt curiosity for pictorial representation, and dialogue with the many languages in painterly history.

This exhibition celebrates the full breadth and legacy of this four-year project, characteristic of the changing relationship to images in the 1980s. The publication notably brings together the works in the exhibit with pieces in museum collections, surveying the full range of drawings, prints, and major paintings.

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