EXHIBITION: Jan. 24 – Mar. 11
RECEPTION: Thurs, Jan. 26, 5-6pm
LECTURE: Thurs, Jan. 26, 6-7pm
(With Dr. Rebecca Dobkins, Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Native American Art, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University)

ABOUT | More than 120 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints will be displayed in “Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain,” a major retrospective exhibition representing 40 years of work by the Native American artist. On view at the Museum of Art/WSU from January 24 – March 11, the exhibition opens with a reception and lecture on January 26 from 5-7 p.m. The lecture will be given by Dr. Rebecca Dobkins, Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Native American Art at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University.

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.

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.

In 2012, commissioned by The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Bartow created “We Were Always Here,” a monumental pair of sculptures, over 20 feet high, which was installed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. The Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR, has represented Bartow for 20 years.

Personal experiences, literature and art from around the globe informed Bartow’s art.   Throughout his career, he consistently explored self-portraiture and animal imagery, often blurring the lines between the two; many describe his work as transformational and visual storytelling.

Accompanying the exhibition is a fully illustrated catalog with essays by Jill Hartz, JSMA Executive Director and Danielle Knapp, JSMA McCosh Associate Curator, as well as Lawrence Fong, former JSMA Curator of American and Regional Art. The catalog is made possible with support from The Ford Family Foundation, Arlene Schnitzer, and Philip and Sandra Piele.  The catalog is available for sale the evening of the reception in the museum gallery.

Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain was Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon. Curated by Jill Hartz, JSMA Executive Director and Danielle Knapp, JSMA McCosh Associate Curator.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMMING

LECTURE: Thurs, Jan. 26, 6-7pm | Lecture by Rebecca J. Dobkins, Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Native American Art, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University. Dobkins has organized exhibitions of American Indian art internationally and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces grant. Professor Dobkins will introduce audiences to the rich content of Rick Bartow’s artwork by drawing from her experiences as a Native Art expert with an illustrated slide lecture.

TRADITION & CHANGE: CONTEXTUALIZING THE ART OF RICK BARTOW | Wednesday, February 22, 12:00-1:00 p.m., MOA Gallery | An exhibition walk-through with Michael Holloman, Associate Professor of Art History and American Indian Studies, Washington State University. Drawing from his experiences as a liaison between regional tribes and cultural institutions, Michael Holloman will lead a discussion in defining traditional Native arts and then guide us through the emergence of indigenous artists within the contemporary art field. Professor Holloman will place the work of Rick Bartow in a contemporary context through highlighting a key works within the exhibition. NOTE: Public Event

LOCATION | The Museum of Art is located on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium in the Fine Arts Center on the WSU Pullman campus. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday. For more information please contact the museum at 509-335-1910.