press release

Since her first one-person exhibition in New York in 1970, Jennifer Bartlett has been well-known for her process-based works exploring grids and other forms of order, which subvert these systems even as they work within their confines. Alongside this body of abstract work, Bartlett has also produced pastel drawings based on her immediate surroundings. These pastels are essential to understanding Bartlett’s vocal and critical rejection of the rigid distinction between abstraction and figuration, and highlight the fluidity between these ways of working in her practice.

The Hospital series of pastels was made during Bartlett’s extended hospital stay. These pastels are based on a series of photographs she took in the hospital that she later cropped and edited in her studio. With these works, Bartlett continues her long-established practice of close observation and responsiveness to her environment. The drawings mine the liminal experience of "hospital time." Hospital environments are often highly organized by routines of medication or physical therapy, while also filled with long moments of waiting and boredom. This combination often heightens one's awareness of minute details and Bartlett exploits these sensations to create images that eschew sentimentality while remaining indelibly poignant. The Drawing Center’s exhibition will be the first time these ten pastels will be on public view.

Curated by Brett Littman, Executive Director.