In Memoriam: Rick Bartow & George David

In Memoriam: Rick Bartow & George David

It is with tears and heavy hearts that we bid goodbye to two illuminating lights in the contemporary Native art scene, Rick Bartow (1946-2016) and George David (1951-2016). The world has lost two great souls whose art and lives made this corner of the world more beautiful and meaningful. To lose both in the same week is a blow to all who knew them, and who appreciated their art. Our hearts are with the families and friends of these two extraordinary men.

Rick Bartow walked into the forest on April 2nd after a lengthy battle with congestive heart failure. We feel extremely lucky and honored to have known Rick as a friend for many years, and to be able to live with his art here at the gallery.

Though his March solo exhibition is formally ended, we will keep a large body of his artwork up for those who wish to come and experience it, and feel close to this incredible person. To see his fingerprints on the paper, the scratches of his nails in paint, is to feel like he was just in the room but a second ago. Come, and be welcome.

Joe David, Rick Bartow, Loren White and Duane Pasco in September 2011, preparing the logs for Rick Bartow’s magnificent sculptures for the National Museum of the American Indian.

Dear Rick,

Thank you for leaving us with a body of work, a part of you that will always remind us to listen to the wind and bird song carefully. Thank you for showing us there is magic in the world, if we open our eyes and really see the beauty and love and life and music that surrounds us. Thank you for showing us the balance between energy, action, resolution, focus. You committed. You took work seriously, you took art seriously. Your mind was as deep as the solar system, and maybe more amazing. We will miss you so deeply.  You left a mark that will not soon be erased. We will focus on it and say a prayer of gratitude and peace and love for you dear Rick.

-Becky Blanchard, Co-Director.

In January 2016 we suddenly received email after email from an unknown phone number, each with an attachment of a beautiful painted paddle. As they flooded our inbox, we tried to guess whose work they were, and who was sending. At the end of the day, we received the following photo of the wonderful, mischievous face of George David (Nuu-chah-nulth), with a single line of text: “I’ve been having fun!”

George had been living in Neah Bay, WA, and in a wonderful, productive place with his life and art. We saw him twice in 2016, and both times we were thrilled to be in the presence of his smiling energy and spirit. 
George with older brother, Joe David, at Stonington in 2006.

Dear George,

When we think of you, we think of you standing in a circle with your brothers at the gallery: Joe David and Douglas David and Loren White and Duane Pasco and Preston Singletary, standing so straight and drumming so confidently. When we heard you sing, we heard the voices raised on Tla-O-Qui-Aht Sound a century ago. We know your deep soul and generous heart and smiling eyes came to you from distant people who loved life and family and art and gave you those gifts that you have shared so generously with all of us. Thank you for your beautiful voice and rhythm that kept the songs alive so that they will be sung tomorrow. We loved you, dear George, thank you, kind and beautiful soul.

-Becky Blanchard, Co-Director, Stonington Gallery

Loren White, George David, Douglas David, Preston Singletary, Joe David. At the opening of Joe David’s solo painting exhibition in 2007.

Duane Pasco, Loren White, George David, Joe David, Douglas David. Drumming and singing at the opening of Joe David’s exhibition in 2007.