Annette Hinkle, The Sag Harbor Express, 10/28/14, "Mary Ellen Bartley Leans Above the Page at Guild Hall"
Jennifer Landes, The East Hampton Star, 10/2/14, "Bartley's Books in NYC"
Jennifer Landes, The East Hampton Star, 7/26/12, "A Thousand Words are Worth a Picture"
Roberta Smith, The New York Times, 7/23/2011, Art in Review, "Reader's Delight"
"The common ground in "Reader's Delight at McKenzie Fine Art is books... Mary Ellen Bartley photographs stacks of pale books suggesting the trompe l'oeil paintings of John Frederick Peto by way of Giorgio Morandi... Maira Kalman, Abelardo Morell, Donna Ruff, Mamiko Otsubo and Mickey Smith expand upon the shared theme."
Martha Schwedener, The New York Times, 9/23/11 on "Artists Choose Artists" at the Parrish Art Museum
"The artists chosen by Ross Bleckner, a painter known for canvases that hover between abstraction and representation, display an ethereal quality similar to his own except in photographs rather than paint. Mary Ellen Bartley takes photographs of books standing on their ends with their pages separated, from the close range at which the images were captured, they end up looking like striated, abstract compositions."
Liz Markus, The Huffington Post, 8/31/11 "Artists Choose Artists at the Parrish Art Museum"
(interview with RossBleckner)
LM: Ross, Both Renate Aller and Mary Ellen Bartley generate remarkable variation within fairly restricted parameters, Aller shooting the exact same scene of sky and water for ten years, and Bartley constraining herself to only photographing books. I can see a lot of similarities between your work and theirs-themes like the passage of time, memory and loss, embodied in objects going in and out of focus and attention to light and atmosphere. In the case of Bartley's work, the vertical lines that the pages create in her Standing Open series even remind me of your stripe paintings of the 80's. Is this seeming kinship with their work what attracted you to them?
Ross Bleckner: I was attracted to both of their work because of the way in which they capture place in a complementary way. First both of them are extremely accomplished with the medium, which I respect, and because of that are able to use it in a very evocative way. That sense of stillness and movement in a photo in opposite ways was very inspiring. In one, waves and landscape changing over time, and in the other pages, turning and narrative shifting are like identity...momentary, transient, present, always shifting. In both photographers I got the feeling that what they were looking at they were looking at very closely: waves and pages as an investigation of time spent and time past. In my own work I try to find the variations of an image between its conception and fragmentation: how it begins and how it ends, its place as an interior space (i.e. cells) and its exterior (i.e cosmos, flowers, stars, sky, abstraction) all states of its being are connected so that finding a way to find an image is like the image itself going from being concrete to dissolving...like water from steam to ice.