I see London, I see France is dominated by a gigantic, comic book-style women’s undergarment, outlined in thick white lines, accented by a small white bow slightly below where the navel would be. The undergarment appears to hover in the air atop a background of painted yellows, oranges and gold leaf, its waistline horizon-straight. But its lower section curves and dips, sketching the outline of a pubis. The anatomy, here, is understated, sketched with a single line, yet it is at the same time self-consciously prominent, the focus of the painting—a witty contradiction. Where one might expect to see thighs is a pair of texts derived from schoolyard verse: “I see London” and “I see France,” the text coloured in the black, red and yellow hues may suggest the German flag. The body, like Europe itself in many ways, becomes a crossing-point for romance, politics and general naughtiness or prurience.
august 01 - september 14, 2014
Painter Danielle Bartlette traveled to Amsterdam to meet a Dutch man she’d known since her teens and reconnected with a year earlier in Paris. She found herself bound up in a relationship coloured by passion, vulnerability, broken hope and love. The Amsterdam Series: Touch Me! / Raak Mij Aan! presents Bartlette’s reactions and responses to this period in her life: fourteen large-scale paintings that examine moments, emotions and discoveries in a visual diary. It is a many-faceted investigation, in acrylic, ink, conté, glitter and gold leaf, of romance and the urban milieu, and how the two can activate one another. It is also a strategic embrace, on the part of the artist, of her own painterly subjectivity.
To represent this period of her life, Bartlette employs artistic strategies that she has developed over past works, notably her The Oyster Bar: Beyond Tourist series, based on her experiences living in Edinburgh, Scotland, and her Brandon Series, which drew from her memories of growing up in Brandon, Manitoba. For each painting in The Amsterdam Series, Bartlette begins with a multi-layered, intensively worked under-painting, drawing from her memories to recapture the visual vocabularies and moods of the locations or objects featured in the work. In some paintings, the colours and textures, emotional and symbolic, invoke Amsterdam’s rich urban colour palette: flowers, boats, windmills, signs and event posters. Bartlette’s use of gold leaf, in particular, references the play of light as it reflects off the water of the city’s canals. The result is an illusion of depth, with blocky gold shapes—sometimes suggestive of architecture or cartography—floating on top.
Bartlette then switches to a palette of solid colours, adding iconic visual and textual elements in a style reminiscent of comic books. This overlay of images and texts augments the more poetical background under-painting with a narrative component: boats and canals, room interiors, clothing, human anatomy and actual characters. These symbolic images also make reference to Bartlette’s memories of her lover. Each resulting painting functions like a page in a diary, relating a subjective narrative of moments and impressions, with the diarist-artist’s emotional trajectory revealed between the lines, as it were, activated by aesthetic cues.
friday august 8, 2014 | 6:00 pm
artist will be in attendance
sunday september 14, 2014 | 1:00 - 5:00 pm
artist will be in attendance