In 1977 Bartlett executed several paintings of houses that she considered portraits of close friends. Graceland Mansion, a five-section painting, was named for Elvis Presley's legendary Memphis home because he was one of the artist's childhood idols and died in 1977 while she was working on the piece. Like the painting, the prints comprise five parts. Five different printmaking techniques—one for each print—combine to mimic a variety of historical artistic styles. Drypoint is used for a neat, pointillist pattern of dots; screenprint provides layers of solid, brightly colored dabs; and lithography yields freely executed, expressionistic marks. In the five prints, the sun goes through its daily cycle, casting its light first from the left at dawn, during the morning, then from overhead at noon, and finally from the right in the afternoon and at dusk. Meanwhile the house is rotated a quarter turn in each successive image. The shapes and directions of the shadows cast by the simple shape of the house, the saturation of color, and the optical densities of the forms all imply movement and the passage of time, a recurring theme in Bartlett's work.
Jennifer Bartlett, Paula Cooper Gallery and Brooke Alexander Inc.
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