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.

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

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