Rick Bartow: My Eye
Hallie Ford Museum, Salem, OR
Jan 19-Mar 16
This retrospective exhibition marks the beginning of a two-ear tour for Rick Bartow. Bartows work is direct and visionary, I draw lines and see animals. Gerald McMaster, Ph.D. of the Smithsonians National Museum of the American Indian comments, In Bartows work are representations of life, the patterns we all go through... his are intensely personal stories... always surprising with his broad range of mediums...
|Rick Bartow, Magpie (1996), pastel & graphite on paper [Halle Ford Museum, Salem, Jan 19-Mar 16] Courtesy Froelick Gallery
Bartow creates drama with the juxtapositions of both color and image. He pulls us into his large drawings, created with pastels, charcoal and graphite, with an expansive use of black and white and keeps us there with his ample use of colors. His subjects are in a state of symbolic metamorphosis, never knowing if its the animal transforming into a human or if its the other way around. The exhibition also features his mixed media sculptures. In Untitled. 1993 we see a carving of a mask depicting a serene face atop a bird.
Other pieces are far more raw and provoking, as in Quee Queg. 1996 where the subjects stained face is marred with numerous nails plunged into it. On display, from the collection of The Heard Museum in Phoenix is his striking headdress, Salmon Mask. 1987 It has an salmon's bulbous nose, a wide open jaw with well spaced sharp teeth and the soft wavy white hair of an elder. The few examples of his drypoints presented on handmade Japanese paper exude an Asian influence in the simplicity of their compositions, which he creates with quick gestural markings.
His work is inspired by his keen ability to observe nature, relationships, his Vietnam service, travels, multi-cultural mythology and ceremonial traditions and influences from Bartows Native American heritage, Yurok. Bartow resides and works on the Oregon Coast where 5 generations of his family have lived for seven decades.
This exhibition is accompanied by a book on Bartows life and work, published by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University in association with the University of Washington Press.