Jacob Feige reviews Jennifer Bartlett: Chaos Theory (1971-2013) at Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, on view through June 29, 2013.
Feige writes that "Bartlett is able to use mathematical rules to create paintings that buzz unexpectedly with humanity, in contrast to other formula followers like Sol Lewitt and Carl Andre. Emerging just after those artists in the 1970s, Bartlett took the grid—the nearly ubiquitous framework for the minimalists—in varied and sometimes contradictory directions, removing much of the dogma and orthodoxy that the form implied… Her entirely abstract dot paintings are the subject of Chaos Theory, her current exhibition at Locks Gallery that chronicles the evolution of the dot since 1971. It takes patience to understand the making of these paintings, but it’s worth it. Prolonged attention reveals surprising, even funny interactions between formula and intuition, simplicity and (occasionally transcendent) complexity.