Mary Ellen Bartley
Reading In Color
November 5 – December 5, 2020
Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Reading In Color, recent photographs, by Mary Ellen Bartley. Previously, appearing in group shows, this is Bartley’s first solo exhibition in the gallery.
Bartley’s book portraits as subject matter are well known. Reading In Color explores the tactile and formal qualities of printed “pulp” paperback books– a word that connotes both the content and material of the physical pages. Drawn to their formal qualities and aesthetic as intellectual objects, Bartley has used books in her compositions since 2004. Over the years she has worked with various libraries and collections to source books for her series, including Jackson Pollock’s personal collection, as well as the Beale women of Grey Gardens. For Reading in Color, Bartley sourced her collection of “pulp” from The Strand, a beloved independent bookstore in New York City. Searching through the bins of forty-eight-cent paperbacks for “pulp”, Bartley amassed hundreds of titles belonging to this popular American mass-marketed genre. As still life compositions, her works oscillate between abstraction, sculptural assemblage and color studies; as photographs, they exist as portraits of hidden histories and repurposed fiction in their segments of color.
Born in New York, NY, in 1959, Bartley received her BFA from Purchase College, SUNY, and she lives and works in New York. Her work has been exhibited in numerous institutions including The Queens Museum, NY; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Houston Center for Photography; The Drawing Room, East Hampton, NY; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY; The Watermill Center, NY; and National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, Guatemala City. Bartley has taken part in numerous residencies, including at The Queens Museum, NY; Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY; and Watermill Center, NY. Bartley’s work is in numerous collections, including the Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY; McEvoy Family Collection, McEvoy Foundation, San Francisco, CA; Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; The Watermill Collection, Watermill, NY.
Born in New York, NY, in 1959, Bartley received her BFA from Purchase College, SUNY. She lives and works in New York.