Upon first seeing Jennifer Barlett’s Exhibition at The Drawing Center, it was not initially engaging to me. I walked quickly through the gallery, and surmising I was bored, I moved on.
That, however, is what it feels like to be in a hospital; impatiently bored, but always waiting.
The back gallery itself was cold, painted a deep blue; a color that typically invites tranquility but only added to the feeling of dispassion. The imagery in the pastel drawings felt removed and detached: demonstrating the procedural decisions one must make. There is a sense of numbness that is enduring; you find it becoming your coping mechanism and it is the same feeling derived from these drawings.
I did not like the drawings and maybe still do not like them; they contained no sense of activity- but perhaps that is the point. Barlett illustrates the waiting game that marries with a hospital setting. Even if there is a flurry of movement going on around you, you are actually doing nothing. Only waiting for something to happen.
The perspective of being in an interior and looking to out to the exterior symbolizes the neutrality a hospital represents. You can see the beautiful view, the beautiful life that is going on outside of the hospital, but you never have access. That union only happens when you exit: either alive or in a body bag.