Jennifer Bartlett

The Island and Pink Fence 

Seminal contemporary artist Jennifer Bartlett’s two-part work The Island and Pink Fence is back on view after a break of over twenty years. Originally shown in a 1985 exhibition in New York City it was the first time Bartlett had juxtaposed objects as free-standing elements with her paintings. The installation comprises a monumental marine painting in vibrant colors within a room occupied by actual objects: an empty wooden boat, a miniature house, and a chain link fence painted pink. Is everything exactly what it seems at first glance? On closer inspection the cheerful painting of the sea hints at something disturbing happening beneath the surface, and the empty house and boat start to take on threatening stories of their own. The juxtaposition of The Island and Pink Fence invites the viewer to contemplate the painful difference between representations and realities.  

Image: Jennifer Bartlett (American, born 1941), “The Island”, 1984. Oil on canvas. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1991.77; “Pink Fence”, 1985. House: cinderblock, wood, steel, galvanized steel, and enamel paint; Boat: wood and varnish; Fence: galvanized steel and paint Gift of the artist, 1992.32.1. Installation view.