Delving Deep: An Exhibition of Works by Rick Bartow


Over his long career, Rick Bartow confronted a complicated history of emotions asa Native Wiyot and Vietnam veteran driven to alcoholism after the war. He communicated the various sides of who he was through both subject matter and the use ofthe materials. Quick, frenetic strokes of graphite and bright colorful pastels, ferociousanimals in a state of transformation, birds, or self-portraits with dark scratches overthe face and eyes. Upon initial glance, such works might intimidate or overwhelm.

Stand in front of any Rick Bartow creation and some part of it will reach out and grabat your insides, shake up your complacency. Rick’s expressionistic style allowed himto explore his inner self, to expose the rawness existing under the surface. From thosedepths emerged those things that haunted him or challenged him, but for him hisart served as therapy and catharsis. The artistic images created through this processwere often difficult and provocative, but ultimately were a road to self-discovery.

Rick understood that his work was intense and a lot to digest all at once. One yearwhen he was here at Stonington lecturing on his exhibit at the time, he explainedthat he deliberately included little marks throughout his works to afford viewers anopportunity to rest their eyes, rest their minds before moving back to the seeminglydarker parts. The most interesting thing, truly, is that anyone who knew Rick personally knew how calm and peaceful he was, so full of humor and grace. His serenepresence was the direct antithesis of the often-jarring energy of the works surrounding him in the room.

Such dichotomy is human. We are not all one thing or another. Rick Bartow’s art forces us to ask ourselves whether we sufficiently delve the depths of our own selves enough? Might we achieve similar self-discovery and catharsis if we were to exist somewhere other than on the surface, not be afraid to understand more deeply?

The world lost a true visionary and brilliant man the day we lost Rick Bartow. But we are grateful that he was so prolific and that he was willing to do the hard work to delve deep into his soul and reveal himself. Although not always simple and easy, Rick’s work is always thought-provoking and powerful and we are grateful to have it here in the Stonington Gallery.

Exhibition Dates:

January 30, 2021 - February 27, 2021

Involved Artists:

Rick Bartow

Featured Works

The Stonington Gallery is also honored and humbled beyond words to be able to highlight works by the late Rick Bartow. This solo exhibit, Delving Deep, is extraordinarily special. For those of you who knew Rick he had faced some of his darkest times in his journey on this planet and was able to use art as his outlet. He is a beautiful example of transformation and pouring his heart and soul into his work. We have so many fond memories of Rick in our gallery over the years and he was so at peace and eager to engage with any questions our audience had to ask. We look forward to giving you insight into some of the pastels, drypoints, monotypes, and sculptures. We would also love to hear your connection with Rick Bartow and any stories you might have. By telling parts of his story, we hope his art speaks to you about different times in his life and how he processed some of the hardships and came through the other side.