september 04 - november 1, 2015
i see france
Danielle Bartlette uses paint and mixed media to examine the complex relationships between place and memory. As she explores the cities she has travelled or lived—here Paris, Versailles, Bordeaux and other French locales—Bartlette plots her memories of a particular place, separating and recombining them into new formations. The materials she uses are chosen based on her sensory experiences with her environment, and the personal geographies that result explicate the selective role of the sensory environment in forming personal memory and subjective experience.
Bartlette’s encounter with France was chiefly architectural: walking its cities’ streets, contemplating its monuments, crossing its bridges, entering its buildings—places that relate to her own ancestry, full of both regular folk and aristocrats, the people who built and administered institutions like the Musée d’Orsay or the Louvre. As she did so, Bartlette used her camera to assemble a personal archive of French architectural accents and ornaments. As though in mimicry of the city’s street grid, Paris’s and other cities’ built structures elucidated their own labyrinthine vocabularies: textured marble, artful brickwork, ventilation grates, airport tarmac symbols, wrought-iron fences, patterned paving stones.
Each large painting in this series arises directly from one of these photos. And each comprises a layering of the architectural colours, textures and patterns of the city, sometimes augmented with textual elements, and then worked and reworked in acrylic, mixed media and accented with real gold leaf. Bartlette’s selection of materials is highly personal, designed to advance a feeling of connection with the places in her works. Drawing upon the rich legacy of more than two millennia of continual construction, this series is a powerful homage to the remarkable visual and textural aggregate that is urban France.
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Winnipeg-born, Calgary-based painter Danielle Bartlette uses oil and acrylic media to examine complex relationships between place and memory. With each painting series, Bartlette draws upon techniques such as abstract expressionism, collage, typography and signage to plot her memories of a particular place, separating and recombining them in new formations. The resulting personal geographies evoke nostalgia, and then quickly bypass it, exploring and questioning the selective role of sensory experience in the formation of personal memory and subjective experience.