The Elements: Earth
Born in California, Bartlett has traveled the world, lived in France and collaborated with printmakers in Japan. She studied at Mills College and Yale, and now lives and works in New York City. Bartlett fluctuates between painting, drawing, printmaking and object making and often combines two or more of these media. The Elements: Earth is part of an extensive series that began with four oil paintings of the elements — air, water, earth and fire — from which Bartlett developed pastel drawings and then concluded with prints that correspond to various accompanying objects.
Bartlett’s The Elements: Earth links our physical lives to the place where we return after death. The skull, appearing prominently in the printed image, and the box are memento mori symbols, reminding viewers of the corporal body’s inescapable connection to death and ultimate return to the earth in a coffin. The combination of the two- and the three-dimensional also suggest a link between our earthly existence and the intangible afterlife.
Softground etching and aquatint; Enamel on wood and brass
(18.104.22.168 and 2)
Gilbreath-McLorn Museum Fund
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"I still remember the feeling of awe and disbelief when I was alone and walked in the room with those casts." --Ruth Tofle, chair of architecture, winner of the 2013 distinguished faculty award from the MU Alumni Association