Miles McEnery Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent works by Bo Bartlett, on view 31 May through 7 July. The exhibition will include several major paintings as well as a selection of gouaches. A public reception will be held for the artist on Thursday 31 May from 6 to 8pm. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, featuring an essay by Chris Crosman.
Bo Bartlett’s series of recent gouaches captures the passing moments of a hazy summer day and transforms them into glistening narratives of wonder. The works depict Bartlett’s tranquil summers spent with his wife, artist Betsy Eby, on Wheaton Island off of the coast of Maine, where the only signs of human life in the natural landscape are the renovated fisherman’s cottages, which serve as separate studios for the artists.
Though many of the gouaches lack human subjects, each one alludes to an epic narrative similar to those found in his large-scale oil paintings. Bartlett allows for these works to be more loosely rendered: his gestural brushstrokes sweep across certain passages while others remain bare, the bright white of the watercolor paper suggesting the siding of a house or the space around an interior windowpane. These distinct choices define each image, revealing the landscape as seen through Bartlett’s eyes, each brushstroke conveying the precise emotions set within that moment.
Bartlett’s belief that “art is a living thing” is clearly demonstrated in these new works. Each gouache serves as a chapter in the narrative of Bartlett’s experience, inviting the viewer to indulge in the peaceful meditation of the artist’s daily practice. As Chris Crosman notes, “In some sense, all of Bartlett’s gouaches are short, sweet songs sung to himself…Warm-ups for the soul.”
Bo Bartlett (b. 1955, Columbus, GA) received his Certificate of Fine Arts in 1981 from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and received a certificate in filmmaking from New York University in 1986. In January 2018, Columbus State University unveiled the Bo Bartlett Center, which features a permanent collection of Bartlett’s work.
He has had numerous solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include “Paintings from the Outpost, Dowling Walsh Gallery, Rockland, ME; “Bo Bartlett: American Artist,” The Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA; The University of Mississippi Museum, Oxford, MS; “Love and Other Sacraments,” Dowling Walsh Gallery, Rockland, ME; “Paintings of Home,” Ilges Gallery, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA; “A Survey of Paintings,” W.C. Bradley Co. Museum, Columbus, GA; “Paintings of Home,” P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York, NY; and Ogden Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA.
Recent group exhibitions include “Truth & Vision: 21st Century Realism,” Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE; “Behind the Easel,” Somerville Manning Gallery, Greenville, DE; “Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World,” Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA; “Brine,” SOMA New Art Gallery, Cape May, NJ, curated by Victor Grasso; “The Things We Carry: Contemporary Art in the South,” Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; “American Masters,” Somerville Manning Gallery, Greenville, DE; “The Philadelphia Story,” Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC; “The Outwin Boochever 2013 Portrait Competition Exhibition,” Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; “Best of the Northwest: Selected Paintings from the Permanent Collection,” Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA; “Perception of Self,” Forum Gallery, New York, NY; “Real: Realism in Diverse Media,” Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, CA; “Thriving in Seattle: A Retrospective,” GAGE Academy of Art, Seattle WA; “private (dis)play,” New York Academy of Art, New York, NY; “Figure as Narrative,” Columbus State University, Columbus, GA; “Solemn & Sublime: Contemporary American Figure Painting,” Akus Gallery, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, and “private(dis)play,” Center of Creative Arts, St. Louis, MO.
His work may be found in the permanent collections of the Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA; the Bo Bartlett Center, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA; Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, PA; Denver Museum of Art, Denver, CO; Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA; Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; La Salle University Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; McCornick Place Metropolis Pier and Exposition Authority, South Hall, Chicago, IL; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Philadelphia Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA; and United States Mint, Philadelphia, PA.
Bartlett is the recipient of the Benjamin Lanard Memorial Award; Cecelia Beaux Memorial Portrait Prize, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Charles Toppan Prize, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Eleanor S. Gray Still Life Prize; Gibbes Society 1858 Southern Contemporary Art Prize; Museum Merit Award, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA; Packard Prize, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; the PEW Fellowship in the Arts; the Philadelphia Museum of Art Award; Thouron Prize; and the William Emlen Cresson Traveling Scholarship, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.
Bo Bartlett lives and works in Columbus, GA and lives seasonally in Maine.