Jennifer Bartlett's distinguished career as a painter and printmaker has spanned over thirty years in which her prints and paintings have been exhibited in many of the most respected museums and galleries around the world. She is represented in the collections of The Tate, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
A survey of her work, whether by catalogue or exhibition, reveal paintings and prints where both realism and abstraction are often given equal status. Typically, influences of Pointillism, Impressionism and Expressionism as well as subtle nuances of Matisse, Johns and Pollock are clearly evident.
In Bartlett's works, what may often appear as mundane images, houses, trees and water, have consistently been the source of some of the most significant and interesting exploration in her work. In one of her most prolific and recurring images, the house, we see what Bartlett has loosely referred to as "an alter ego metaphor for the different phases of her life including the house as a symbolic portrait of people"
Bartlett grew up in the suburbs of Long Beach before she attended Mills College in Oakland, California. While a student, she formed a friendship with the future mixed-media sculptor Elizabeth Murray. Bartlett received her BFA in 1963; she then traveled to New Haven to study at Yale School of Art and Architecture and received her MFA in 1965, at a time when minimalism was the dominant style. Bartlett's instructors included the artists James Rosenquist, Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Katz, and Al Held. Bartlett has described the experience of study there as her broadest influence: "I'd walked into my life."  Fellow Yale Art and Architecture alumni of the 1960s include the painters, photographers, and sculptors Brice Marden, Richard Serra, Chuck Close, Nancy Graves, and Robert Mangold.
When asked by Murray in a 2005 interview about what she was thinking as a first-year art student, Bartlett replied: Being an artist, Ed Bartlett, Bach cello suites, Cézanne, getting into graduate school, getting to New York, Albert Camus, James Joyce. I’d drawn constantly since childhood: large drawings of every creature alive in the ocean; Spanish missions with Indians camping in the foreground, in the background Spanish men throwing cowhides over a cliff to a waiting ship; hundreds of Cinderellas on five-by-eight pads, all alike but with varying hair color and dresses.
Bartlett is best known for her paintings and prints of mundane objects, executing in a style that combines elements of both representational and abstract art. In 1981, she created a two-hundred foot mural for the Federal Building in Atlanta, Georgia. Bartlett has completed commissions for Volvo, Saatchi, Information Sciences Institute, and Battery Park.
Bartlett's work is represented in a number of public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Tate Gallery in London, the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College in Virginia, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas, the Wake Forest University Fine Arts Gallery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.