“Rick Bartow: Highlights from ‘Things You Know but Cannot Explain’” is on display now through Feb. 25 in the Little Gallery, Room 210, Kidder Hall at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
An opening reception with the collector, Bill Avery, is set for 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13.
Bartow was born in 1946 and died in 2016. He lived and worked in Newport. In 1969, he graduated from Oregon College of Education (now Western Oregon University) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary art education. Bartow was a Vietnam veteran, a lifelong musician and songwriter, and a widower, and is considered an important leader in contemporary Native American art.
Bartow was an enrolled member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Indians of Northern California and also had close ties to the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. His work is permanently held in more than 100 public collections in the U.S., including Yale University, the Brooklyn Museum and the Portland Art Museum, and has been referenced in hundreds of books, catalogs and articles.
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His art has been the subject of more than 100 solo exhibitions at museums and galleries, including the retrospective “Things You Know but Cannot Explain,” organized in 2015 by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene, in collaboration with Froelick Gallery.
That exhibition subsequently went on a national tour of 11 venues over five years. The Little Gallery’s selection from that exhibit includes drawings, paintings, prints, pastels and sculpture, and covers Bartow’s work from 1979 to 2013.
Installations are designed to bring forth the character and personality of the artist. Bartow’s autobiography became known through his many paintings, prints and other works of art. TraHe was unafraid of exploring the most unsettling of emotions: grief, terror and loss. But while he had his share of tragedy, his narratives are not so much about his struggles as they are about a way through them.
The theme of transformation was central to Bartow’s work. Representations of transformation between human and animal realms, corporeal and spiritual dimensions, male and female, and despair and hope are found throughout his work.
Bartow’s work has received national recognition. He is known foremost as a contemporary American artist, but also one who has lived the Native American experience. Native American mythological characters became familiar, never clichéd, in his hands.
Further information is available at www.osulittlegallery.com.
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