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Mary Ellen Bartley

Morandi's Books

October 27 – December 23, 2022

Large White Bottle and Shadow (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Large White Bottle and Shadow (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Yellow and White Book Glassine (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Yellow and White Book Glassine (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Vorrei Essere 2 (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 18 3/4 x 15 inches and 32 x 25 1/2 inches.

Vorrei Essere 2 (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 18 3/4 x 15 inches and 32 x 25 1/2 inches.

Two Bottles on Left (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Two Bottles on Left (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Two Books in Window (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Two Books in Window (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Standing Pink Book (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Standing Pink Book (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Roberto Longhi (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Roberto Longhi (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Rembrandt Album (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Rembrandt Album (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Piero Della Francesca (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 17 1/4 x 18 inches.

Piero Della Francesca (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 17 1/4 x 18 inches.

Pale Stack (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Pale Stack (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Oil Can Glassine (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Oil Can Glassine (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

La Nature Morte Glassine (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

La Nature Morte Glassine (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Iliad (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 12 x 18 inches.

Iliad (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 12 x 18 inches.

Grey Piece (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 18 x 17 1/4 inches.

Grey Piece (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 18 x 17 1/4 inches.

Celluloid Blue Striped Vase (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Celluloid Blue Striped Vase (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Box, Books and Can (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 12 x 18 inches and 21 x 32 inches.

Box, Books and Can (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 12 x 18 inches and 21 x 32 inches.

Painted Vase (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 12 x 18 inches and 21 x 32 inches.

Painted Vase (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 12 x 18 inches and 21 x 32 inches.

Angelico (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Angelico (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Corot and Ingres (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 12 x 18 inches and 21 x 32 inches.

Corot and Ingres (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 12 x 18 inches and 21 x 32 inches.

Vermeer Glassine (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Vermeer Glassine (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Three Pale Books (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Three Pale Books (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, 13 x 18 inches.

Two Cezannes Gold Piece (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Two Cezannes Gold Piece (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Ingres Collage (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Ingres Collage (from the series Morandi's Books), 2022. Archival pigment print, available as 13 x 18 inches and 23 x 32 inches.

Mary Ellen Bartley, Pink Book on Top (from the series Morandi’s Books), 2022. Archival Pigment Print, 13 x 18 inches.

Mary Ellen Bartley, Pink Book on Top (from the series Morandi’s Books), 2022. Archival Pigment Print, 13 x 18 inches.

Mary Ellen Bartley, Blue Green Piece (from the series Morandi’s Books), 2022. Archival Pigment Print, 13 x 18 inches.

Mary Ellen Bartley, Blue Green Piece (from the series Morandi’s Books), 2022. Archival Pigment Print, 13 x 18 inches.

Press Release

Yancey Richardson is pleased to present Morandi’s Books, photographs by Mary Ellen Bartley, on view from October 27 through December 23, 2022. Morandi’s Books springs from Bartley’s 2020 residency at Casa Morandi in Bologna, Italy, where she was invited to work with the personal library of Giorgio Morandi, the twentieth-century Italian artist whose quiet still life paintings have been an important source of inspiration from the beginning of her practice.

 

Bartley is known for her formal and poetic explorations of the printed book.  Produced in unique libraries, (including those of Robert Wilson and Jackson Pollock,) and in her studio, Bartley’s work concerns itself with geometry and pure form; painterly in style, her photos also invite curiosity about the layered histories of the books themselves. Her photos are alive with questions – about what we do and don’t see and the stories we tell.  Yet the spirit of her work provides a reflective response, a respite, from a world that seems increasingly out of sorts.

 

When Bartley’s Bologna residency was cut short by the pandemic, she returned to her Sag Harbor studio and began to explore ways to expand the project while travel restrictions prevented her from returning to Italy. Bartley embarked on a series of interventions in which the original photographs were manipulated with collage elements that subtly confound and disarrange the visual field and speak to the sense of isolation that the pandemic engendered. Part homage, part reinvention, the series takes cues from Morandi’s own work, drawing on the painter’s masterful poetic economy of style, tonal restraint and unerring structural balance.

Bartley modifies the photographic imagery with modest means – a cut piece of paper, vellum, or the aged glassine typical of the papers that cover many volumes in Morandi’s library. The strategic placement of these simple elements alters spatial depth and introduces an extra layer of time and experience to each photograph. In Celluloid with Blue Striped Vase, Morandi’s own translucent viewing tool, a celluloid sheet with a hand drawn grid used to prefigure his compositions, is deployed in the foreground of the photograph.

 

Morandi’s Books brings Mary Ellen Bartley’s work full circle. She has gone to Bologna, worked in the studio with objects and books that belonged to the artist who inspired her, an artist she first encountered in books, and brought back images -- meditative, quiet, rigorously observed, -- that affirm the connection between the artists, and between artists and their books.

 

Mary Ellen Bartley was born in New York, receiving her BFA from Purchase College, SUNY. Her work has been exhibited at numerous institutions including the Queens Museum, NY; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Houston Center for Photography; Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, NY; and The Watermill Center, NY. Bartley has taken part in numerous artist residencies, including at Casa Morandi, Bologna, Italy; The Queens Museum, NY; Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY; Penumbra Foundation, NY; and Watermill Center, NY. Bartley's work is in numerous collections, including MOMA library special collections, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis MN; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY; McEvoy Foundation, San Francisco, CA; The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ; Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, NY; and The Watermill Collection, Watermill, NY.

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