by Christopher Howard
Locks Gallery is pleased to present Addresses (1976–78), an exhibition of plate paintings and related studies by Jennifer Bartlett, on view April 20th through May 25th, 2012. There will be a reception for the artist on Friday, April 20th from 5:30 to 7:30pm. An accompanying book, Jennifer Bartlett's Enameled Steel Plates, documents the whole Addresses series and further explores Bartlett’s work on steel plates from the 1960s until now, with historical installation views, related criticism, and preparatory drawings.
In the Addresses series, Bartlett reinterprets the square-and-triangle house icon, which is one of the four figurative elements of her monumental piece Rhapsody, 1976*. This time, she refers to her and her friends’ addresses, mainly in Long Beach, California, and SoHo, New York. The street names, Howard, Greene, Lafayette, White, conjure up a time when artists first occupied the former industrial lofts of SoHo.
Bartlett paints in bright enamel colors over one-foot-square gridded plates, a medium that she created for her early minimal investigations of the late 1960s, and kept on expanding throughout her career. She enriches the archetypal image of the house with emotions; she depicts her own memories and the personalities of the people who lived at each address. The square-and-triangle houses vary accordingly in scale, color, and technique. She exploits a newly acquired freedom in the way she paints, and explores different styles from dots to freehand, grids to hatches, colored lines, palette knife, etc.
From 1976 to 1978, Bartlett completed seventeen Addresses paintings. The exhibition presents four of the most important ones, including 5725 Ocean Boulevard, 1976-77, a 99-plate piece that lines eight houses up on a 30 feet wall. These works, some of which are on loan from museum and private collections, have never been seen together since the initial exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery in the late 1970s.
*Rhapsody, 1976, is Bartlett’s first room-size installation, on 987 steel plates. It forms part of the MoMA collection and was last on show in the atrium of the museum in summer 2011.
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 Athenaeum, Hartford, CT.
This is Jennifer Bartlett’s eleventh solo exhibition at Locks Gallery.