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Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
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A writer, blogger, and historian, born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, now based in London. read more
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Bone
2000; Oil on linen, 86 in. x 100 in.

Bo Bartlett

THERE IS SOMETHING vigorously American about the art of Bo Bartlett. The modern realist was born in Columbus, Georgia, and studied in Italy under the Arthur Ross Award laureate Ben Long (one of the “greatest draughtsman of the twentieth century” according to Philippe de Montebello) before moving on to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. After completing a filmmaking degree at New York University, Bartlett embarked upon a five-year process creating a film covering the life and works of Andrew Wyeth, in collaboration with the artist’s wife Betsy. The artist’s work certainly shows the influence of Wyeth, as well as other American artists like Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, and Winslow Homer.

Hopper’s works, I’ve always found, have a particular quality of still abandonment, as if the scenes he depicts are living but just abandoned five minutes ago. Bo Bartlett’s paintings have a similar feel: they often exude a slight air of uncertainty and disquiet. There’s the looming threat of anarchy in The End of the 20th Century, also insinuated in So Far, as well as the reversal of the grounded American flag implied in Cradle. Other paintings, like Calling and Deer are peans to the animal kingdom. Still more are disturbingly quiet odes to the American coast — Bartlett divides his time between Puget Sound on the Pacific and Maine on the Atlantic. Whether beautiful portents of doom or eery celebrations of American life, the viewer suspects that there are stories not being told, and that the artist’s paintings conceal as much as they reveal.

Commonwealth
2008; Oil on linen, 48 in. x 66 in.

The End of Summer
2006; Oil on panel, 33 in. x 33 in.

Calling
1998; Oil on linen, 77 in. x 88 in.

Deer
1993; Oil on linen, 58 in. x 72 in.

Sightland
1993; Oil on linen, 58 in. x 72 in.

Jonah
2000; Oil on linen, 46 in. x 80 in.

Leviathan
2000; Oil on linen, 89 in. x 138 in.

Cradle
1999; Oil on linen, 64 in. x 50 in.

So Far
1996; Oil on linen, 84 in. x 120 in.

The End of the 20th Century
1998; Oil on linen, 40 in. x 24 in.
Lifeboat
1998; Oil on linen, 80 in. x 100 in.

This post was published on Sunday, April 17th, 2011 1:30 pm. It has been categorised under Art and been tagged under , .
Comments
  1. S. Petersen
    21 April 2011
    1:56 am

    Once again, thanks. These are well worth seeing. I’ve never heard of the guy and I thank you for bringing him out here. It’s his fashioning after Hopper that draws me most strongly. The “Johah” series is too grisly. The woman at the sink is pure Hopper as is “End of Summer” which could go for a tribute to him. The slight departure, in the latter, from rectilinearity is like a droll admission to being in on what Hopper could see. I realize there’s more to it. It’s nice, in these days of dire news and loud contention, to be given something striving at truth and beauty.

  2. Steve M
    23 April 2011
    2:49 pm

    Andrew,
    I agree with S. Petersen in all respects. I like “End of the 20th Century”, although I hope that was not a letter grade.
    Happy Easter.

  3. Alex Sepkus
    27 April 2011
    3:27 am

    A very talented painter. Quite anti- Catholic, but there is always hope.

  4. Jennifer Roche
    27 April 2011
    10:22 pm

    These are stunning paintings–so atmospheric and the stark, crisp realism so refreshing to today’s altermodernism blah, blah, blah!

    Viewing these gave me such a nice antidote to the horrible revival of the Serrano “exhibition” in Avignon of late! (See below)

    http://www.defendonslecrucifix.org/

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/18/us-france-art-idUSTRE73H4JR20110418

  5. valeria kondratiev
    29 April 2011
    5:49 pm

    Thankyou for posting this, I had not known Bo Bartlett before. He is very remindful of Hopper. They are both great. My favourite here is “end of summer” but I also love the woman at the sink.

  6. 16 May 2011
    11:43 am

    Wonderful painter, I discovered his work a few years ago. I think he should be better known.

  7. Joshua G.
    22 May 2011
    1:17 am

    Re: Comment by Alex Sepkus (Bartlett’s art as anti-catholic)

    Out of curiosity, are you seeing something I’m not?

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