Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain—A Retrospective Exhibition
More than 120 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints will be on view in “Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain,” a major retrospective exhibition organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) at the University of Oregon.
“Things You Know But Cannot Explain” is curated by Jill Hartz, JSMA Executive Director, and Danielle Knapp, JSMA McCosh Associate Curator. Drawn from public and private collections as well as the artist’s studio, the exhibition and accompanying catalog explore themes central to the artist’s work and life: “Gesture,” “Self,” “Dialogue,” “Tradition,” and “Transformation,” as well as “New Work,” featuring exciting examples of Bartow’s production since his stroke in August 2013 that evidence a new freedom of scale and expression.
“Rick Bartow’s work was all about relationships, how the worlds of nature, humans, and spirit connect, influence, and balance one another,” says Hartz. “This nearly forty year retrospective aims to reveal the layers of Bartow’s world view and his astonishing command of materials. It has something to say to everyone.”
“Bartow was truly a master at his craft. He expertly transitions between media and techniques, and had a tremendous command of color,” says Knapp. “His knowledge of artistic, literary, and musical traditions from all over the world was balanced with the autobiographical elements he incorporated into his artwork.”
Bartow, one of the nation’s most prominent contemporary Native American artists, was born in Newport, Oregon, in 1946 and in 2016, died from congestive heart failure. He was a member of the Wiyot tribe of Northern California and had close ties with the Siletz community. He graduated in 1969 from Western Oregon University with a degree in secondary arts education and served in the Vietnam War (1969-71). His work is permanently held in more than 60 public institutions in the U.S., including Yale University Art Gallery, CT; Brooklyn Museum, NY; and Peabody Essex Museum, MA. He has had 35 solo museum exhibitions and his art has been referenced in over 250 books, catalogs, and articles.