Stephen E. Ostrow Distinguished Visitors
OCTOBER 16, 2003
Bartlett and her new work, Jennifer Bartlett: Conceptual Cartography-Recent Works, which is debuting at the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, are appearing at Reed as part of the Stephen E. Ostrow Distinguished Visitors in the Visual Arts program.
Bartlett is an installation painter, printmaker, and sculptor whose work appears in major galleries and museums including the Tate Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her new body of work is a fascinating multimedia exploration with coordinates that defy precise navigation. Bartlett begins with maps of various countries, and by employing her own unique form of map-making-best described as "conceptual cartography"-creates works that meld painting, sculpture, and installation art into entities that skirt conventional classification. Bartlett illuminates her layered concept of place with pencil drawings and paintings in gouache and oil. The intricately shaped canvases that form the focus of each mini-installation accurately depict a given country's boundaries and instantly cue viewers to the lexicon of maps or atlases. Deeper investigation of the subtle volumetric qualities of these sculptural canvases and the way in which visual information is constructed tend, however, to erode initial assumptions. Exploration proves rewarding, but plotting a trajectory may require new orienteering skills.