Jennifer Bartlett’s Process

Jennifer Bartlett: In and Out of the Garden is on view through April 30, 2024.

This installation presents selections from Jennifer Bartlett’s In the Garden series, created from 1979 to 1983. Bartlett depicted several views of the same garden scene using an astounding range of techniques, styles, and media, including pencil, charcoal, ink, Conté crayon, watercolor, pastel, and gouache.

Julie Matsumoto, Jennifer Bartlett’s sister, describes the artist’s process of creating the In the Garden series:

“Each day Jennifer taped a fresh piece of drawing paper onto her table and settled in to peer through the French doors and draw the garden. For each drawing she would use one of the ten or so drawing materials she had decided upon; pencil, pen and ink, brush and ink, charcoal, pastel, etc. The rule she established was that the drawing was finished when she had something else to do and left the table. She would not return to it. When she had finished using each media, she moved forward using combinations of different media – left side of the paper, pencil, right side of the paper, pen and Ink and so on. Once she had exhausted all combinations, she wrote the name of each media on a slip of paper and placed the papers in a bowl. She would then ask Marianne and I to pick two slips of paper out of the bowl which would determine that day’s drawing. Setting up a system helped her work, but she inevitably broke her system’s rules and enjoyed the randomness of the outcome. Establishing a system, then breaking the rules is evident in many of her works. I think the system was comforting and breaking the rules exciting. It was a way she could really think and work.”

Hear more from Julie Matsumoto, as well as Bartlett’s daughter Alice Carriere, and studio manager Joan LiPuma on the Bloomberg Connects app or on Soundcloud.