Mary Ellen Bartley is an American artist known for her photographs that explore the tactile and formal qualities of the printed book and its potential for abstraction. Her work has been widely exhibited, including solo shows at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York, and at The Drawing Room and Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton, New York. Bartley’s work has also been featured in several exhibitions exploring themes of the book and objects caught in transition from the analog to the digital realm. These include Well Read: Visual Explorations of the Book at Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, Out of Print at the Bakersfield Museum of Art in California, The Thing Itself at Yancey Richardson Gallery, and Ordinary Pictures at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
The painter Ross Bleckner chose Bartley to exhibit her work alongside his at the Parrish Art Museum’s Artists Choose Artists exhibition in 2011, in Water Mill, New York.
Recognitions include Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50 Photographers in 2011, 2012, and 2013; and a first place Lucie International Photography Award in 2012 for her series Artists and Models. Bartley was a Watermill Center 2015 Artist in Residence and spent a month creating the installation Reading Robert Wilson, followed by a “book of books” titled Reading Robert Wilson, which was shortlisted for the Fotobookfestival Kassel Dummy Award in 2015. Bartley will be expanding her Standing Open series during her time as a visiting artist in the libraries of the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, this spring.