Crossing the Boundary: A Solo Exhibit of Works by Rick Bartow

a solo exhibition

Crossing the Boundary examines the symbols in Rick Bartow’s work that reflect his exploration of the balance between life and death. Over the course of Bartow’s long career, he highlighted a myriad of richly symbolic subjects from his Wiyot culture, as well as symbols from music, the places he visited, books he read, and most often his personal experiences. Bartow was always in touch with the natural world and very frequently included animals as his subjects, often canines: dogs, coyotes and wolves.

Within the Wiyot culture, the character of Coyote is a teacher, but also someone not to be fully trusted– an archetypal trickster figure. Straddling the line between light and dark, the lessons Coyote taught were often hard, but necessary. Rick Bartow embodies this trickster in his work. He embraces the full spectrum of light. He tackles the darkness within the spirit, while using color and form to create beauty from that transformational place.

Dogs in Bartow’s work were omens and symbols of crossing the boundary. In the mixed media painting on canvas “Dog, Dog, Dog” Bartow is referencing a particular incident during his uncle’s passing. Bartow and his uncle were very close, and as his uncle was in the hospital he said he saw a dog in the room. After some thought, Bartow came to see that the dog was there to guide his uncle to the other side. Bartow captured that powerful and emotional encounter in this chanting, singing dog, energetically calling to the viewer to make its presence known–to be both here and there.

In Crossing the Boundary, you will see many of Rick Bartow’s symbols that allude to this journey of embracing both dark and light, death and life, encouraging one to look within and to connect with the power of spirit. Bartow’s work is saturated with this theme, in color, symbol, and marks, bringing a genuine presence to the room that is deep and expansive and uniquely Rick Bartow.

Exhibition Dates:

March 2, 2023 - April 1, 2023

Involved Artists:

Rick Bartow