Jennifer Bartlett

Conceptual Cartography: Africa


January 30 – March 5, 2004

Republique du Benin, 2003
Oil on canvas
39 x 19.5 in.
Republic of Central Africa, 2003
Oil on canvas
51 x 79 in.
Banqui, Central Africa, 2003
Oil on canvas
12 x 12 in.
Yalinga, Central Africa, 2003
Oil on canvas
17.75 x 18 in.
Democratic Republic of Congo, 2003
Gouache, pen and pencil on paper
13 x 19.25 in.
Unango, Mozambique, 2003
Oil on canvas
18 x 24 in.
Border Crossing, Tanzania, 2003
Oil on canvas
18 x 24 in.
Early Expeditions, 2003
Oil on canvas
18 x 30 in.

January 30 - March 5, 2004

Richard Gray Gallery presents an exhibition of new work by Jennifer Bartlett. The exhibition is comprised of nine groups of paintings and drawings inspired by the mapping of African countries: Benin, Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mozambique, Republic of Central Africa, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania and Uganda. Bartlett exhibited her first map paintings at Richard Gray Gallery in 2001, exploring the shape of cities in the United States. This new group points to the complicated relationships that exist between countries in Africa, and is perhaps a commentary on the arbitrary nature of the divisions that we use to organize our world. The intricately shaped canvasses reflect the complex nature of the borders between countries, some are organic - following coastlines and rivers, and some are geometric - as in the rigid lines that slice apart neighboring countries and peoples. Bartlett's interest in maps reflects her ongoing exploration of the grid, which she incorporates and then moves away from to juxtapose the organic nature of topography. Richly colored and textured, there is a physical presence to these works. Reinventing the visual clues provided by maps, Jennifer Bartlett has again created her own unique visual vocabulary.

The exhibition travels to Richard Gray Gallery from The Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery at Reed College in Portland Oregon, where it was on view in November and December, 2003. A 47-page color catalogue, co-published by both institutions and authored by exhibit curator and Cooley Gallery assistant director Silas Cook and Cooley Gallery director Stephanie Snyder, is available through Richard Gray Gallery.

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