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Jennifer Bartlett, one of the most important members of the New Image group, came to prominence during the 1970s.. Her early work played 20th-century art movements thematatically, counterpointing theme and variation through large series of images. As Holland Cotter suggested in a May 1986 feature story in Art and America, "The 1976 watershed piece Rhapsody . . . summed up where Bartlett had been and where she was going, effectively laying out for inspection her accumulated formal data and possible stylistic strategies. The large work, 7.5' x 153.75' and composed of nearly a thousand gridded steel plates, began stylistically with her familiar Conceptual 'look,' then moved through episodes suggesting decorative and pattern art to something like Photo-Realism before concluding in a kind of Impressionistic dissolve. In short, Bartlett not only scoured early 20th-century art for sources but added nearly every '60s and '70s movement short of performance art, to the Minimalism, Conceptualism, and process art with which she was already working, and from all this extracted a hybrid species of painterly abstraction to pursue" (126). In short, in its self-consciousness about where it was coming from and its elaboration of all the places to which it might be going, Bartlett displayed a distinctly Post-Modern sensibility combined with dazzling technical facility.
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