Perfection Observed: Works on Paper by Rick Bartow

Perfection Observed: Works on Paper by Rick Bartow


Current Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

About Event: 

Stonington Gallery presents a solo exhibition featuring pastels and monotypes with a focus on drypoints by artist Rick Bartow (1946-2016), starting Thursday, March 3-Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Born in Oregon and a member of the Wiyot tribe of the Humboldt Bay region, Bartow’s artwork is influenced by Native American mythological archetypes and his life experiences. Stonington celebrates Bartow’s legacy as an artist and revolutionary in using art as therapy to heal the psychological traumas of war.

One of the core tenets of Bartow’s artwork and life was honesty. In every artwork, line, and smudge, Bartow sought after honesty. He moved from medium to medium to express the varied facets of his life experiences, including Japanese chop marks or traditional Maori designs reflecting his time in Japan and New Zealand.

The subjects of Bartow’s work are beautiful and absurd and beg to be accepted just the way they are like how many of us are driven to find acceptance of our complicated and authentic selves. No matter the medium—a drypoint, a pastel painting, a monotype print—imagery of death, fear, happiness, celebration, and joy are present in each artwork. The artworks in this exhibition are reflections of the artist and his experiences but also of the viewer and our willingness to accept our inner worlds.

When engaging with a Rick Bartow artwork at Stonington’s March exhibition, viewers might find themselves feeling afraid, disconnected, or overwhelmed with the sketchy lines, swirling colors, transforming shapes, and dark masses. However, given a few moments, they might also notice expressions of raw honesty, intuition, truths that invite viewers to lean in instead of ignoring these emotions.

Bartow’s artworks give us the space to feel complicated, upside down, and unapologetically joyous without pretense or judgment. Most of all, his artworks remind us of our pulse in the rich human experience.

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