Handprint in left foreground.
Since the early 1970s, Jennifer Bartlett has earned recognition not only for her colorful paintings and inventive designs for the stage and the garden, but also for her earnest commitment to printmaking. Inspired by the actual physical activity of making a work of art, Bartlett layers simple discrete objects onto a grid system that establishes the space. Her underlying concerns are with order and disorder:
Perfect order always seems to be a momentary thing which you can only get in a flash, because the system in which you're examining anything is always on the point of making itself whole or immediately deteriorating.
Through her compositions, Bartlett marks the passage of time while creating a dialogue between the past and the present. In 1990, she painted The Four Seasons, and, as an outgrowth of these four paintings, produced a group of 24 pastels, and the series of four silkscreen prints. In each of these images, Bartlett included a variety of objects or symbols from the paintings, but each composition is a loose iteration of its related canvas. The prints are the efforts of an arduous process and are heavily layered with multiple colors and energetic striations. Bartlett employs unrelated motifs - boxes, playing cards, dominoes, handprints - that hover abstractly in space above a nondescript field that serves as the constant but neutral background tying the four works together.
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