Art In America

Jennifer Bartlett

at Paula Cooper,
521 West 21st Street

The large oil diptychs in Jennifer Bartlett’s stunning and engaging show generously expand on her distinctive visual vocabulary. From her Minimalist focus on houses and fences in the early ’90s to her series of grid-based, pixelated paintings and prints documenting her travels, Bartlett has created conceptually complex and psychologically edgy tableaux. Objects, whether large or small, natural or manmade, are brought into tight focus.

The paintings in this show combine an intense investigation of nature, gardens in particular, with an unexpected lushness. The paintings could almost be construed as revealing the emotions of the garden. There’s a lovely yet discomfiting quality to the diptychs’ shifting perspectives and the conflicting patterns of the layered, crisscrossed surfaces, which were painted using graining brushes. The diptychs usually present two perspectives or variations on the same subject, confounding the viewers’ perception of the image and thus their memory of it. Drawing us in to the mental territory of landscape, Bartlett presents us with a garden that suggests an intimate interior space—a room inside a view. —Barbara MacAdam

 

Pictured: Jennifer Bartlett: Amagansett Diptych #2, 2007-2008, 96 by 192 inches. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert

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