Rick Bartow, Mortality Coyote Mask, 1986
Gift of the Richard E. Bartow Estate & Froelick Gallery

Comings and Goings:
Works on Paper by Rick Bartow

Summer: By Appointment only
Jan 7 - Jun 14, 2019

The solo exhibition features works on paper by award-winning artist Rick Bartow, from 1979 to 2004. A Vietnam Veteran, life-long musician and song- writer, widower, and enrolled member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Indians, Bartow is considered one of the most important leaders in contemporary Native American art. The collection of works was generously gifted to the C.N. Gorman Museum after the artist’s passing in 2016 by the Richard E. Bartow Estate and Froelick Gallery.

Artist Statement by Rick Bartow
Drawing: 1979-2001

Using Coyote's tail for a brush and Raven's beak to make my marks, I am blind to my destination. I begin to erase marks, attempting to cover my tracks and, like forgetful Coyote, I lose my way. Yet the record of my comings and goings is visible like the lines left by the tide as it advances and recedes.

Drawing comes from inside my head, down my arm, to my hand. As the work begins to intensify, there is little of importance below the armpits. My legs carry me back and forth in front of the drawing. Occasionally I blindly run into objects, cussing and moving on from the shock of the collision.

The marks become little dictators. They demand my attention and, sometimes, even my blood as fingers crack and bleed. Still I believe in the power of drawing as medicine.

In my life I have used this medicine to overcome many obstacles—alcohol, drugs, cigarettes—everything but the death of my beloved wife. Here I found the therapeutic limit, the end of the rope... or so I thought. For even as I dangled over the dark abyss, clinging to the end of that rope with my left hand, the right hand began to draw the horrifying final moments of my lover's life.

Eventually I worked free of that great sadness. Drawing wouldn't allow it to be more than what it was: a cold, hard fact that all of us—like the lines I draw— come to an end, some more abruptly than others. Then the eyes and hand move on to a new sheet of paper, to begin yet another work. I draw because I have no choice: it is my blessing, it is my curse.

This exhibition was made possible through
the generous gifts of artwork from:

Rick Bartow
The Richard E. Bartow Estate
Froelick Gallery
Zelma Long and Phillip Freese

Rick Bartow, Yellow Jock: Homage to Little Beaver Fry III, 2004
Gift of the Richard E. Bartow Estate & Froelick Gallery

Rick Bartow,Untitled (Japan sketch series), 1995
Gift of the Richard E. Bartow Estate & Froelick Gallery