Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain represents the artist’s first major retrospective and a contribution to the substantial growing body of scholarship on contemporary Native artists. Bartow (Mad River Band Wiyot) established his art career in the 1980s following service in Vietnam and a period of recovery from PTSD and alcoholism. His work consists of large-scale paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures that often feature haunting combinations of animal and human forms, and are often both deeply personal and culturally relevant. Divided into thematic sections such as “Gesture,” “Self,” “Dialogue,” and “Tradition,” this exhibition speaks directly to the personal and cultural aspects of traditional Native art within Bartow’s oeuvre while demonstrating his close engagement with the work of 20th-century masters, including Francis Bacon, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
(Photo: © Rick Bartow)