Step into a surreal world made of a mixture of pain, passion, and love. Alumnus Rick Bartow lead an interesting life and, like many, struggled with addiction to help cope with trauma, his crutch being alcohol. His art became his escape. Incorporating his heritage as part of the Wiyot tribe, along with all the other parts of his life, he created his own world. The more art he created, the more he was able to reconcile with his struggles of being a Vietnam veteran.
Before his passing, Bartow honored WOU with more than 30 of his original works, some of which appeared in Cannon Gallery from April 5 through 28. Hamersly Library featured selections from a separate private collection, located on their second-floor gallery, beginning April 5 until June 16. You can also see a permanent installation of his work, made in collaboration with fellow artist Nancy Blair, on the first floor of the Peter Courtney Health And Wellness Center. The piece is titled Heartbeat of the River. It is a mixed media installation that became an addition to the Health and Wellness Center in 2011.
Bartow work goes far beyond local communities. His work made it all the way to the East Coast. This includes a permanent display in the National Mall of his impressive pair of cider sculptures, titled We Were Always Here, that towers at a height of 20 feet. He also has artwork spread all across the U.S. and beyond, being collected both privately and by museums. These only go to show the impressive versatility Bartow had with his art. Bartow approached different mediums on their own terms, creating artwork that worked with the material.
Through dealing with his own inner turmoil, Bartow was able to create art that touched many. Bold brush strokes, transforming spirits, and working with the medium are all things that made Bartow’s work unique. Don’t miss out on seeing his work and immersing yourself in the art. A bit of culture that is both similar and nothing like your own. We all have things that weigh on us, but every weight is distinct and personal.