In memoriam, Rick Bartow

The Northwest lost a great artist with the passing of Native American Artist Rick Bartow on April 2, 2016 at 69 years old. This Oregon artist was known for his transformational artwork: animal spirits and human spirits blended together in a cacophonous display of color and culture. His artwork is vivid and gripping and commands the viewers’ attention. We are very fortunate to have his work in the city’s Portable Works Collection.

Bartow lived and worked on the Oregon coast, where he observed hawk, raven and eagle—the subjects that populate his artwork. Rick was a member of the Wiyot tribe from Northwestern California. In 1969, Rick Bartow earned a Bachelors of Arts in Art Education from Western Oregon State University. He served in the Vietnam War and worked in many fields including fishing, bartending, building maintenance, and teaching. He also became an active blues guitarist before his death.

Bartow was a professional artist, with solo exhibitions at museums, universities, and galleries around the globe and the USA. In 2003 he inaugurated the Continuum 12 series at the National Museum of the American Indian in Manhattan. In 2002 the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University organized the traveling exhibit My Eye, that traveled to the University of Notre Dame and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, WA. Some of his prominent group exhibitions include Twentieth Century American Sculpture at the White House, Washington, D.C., organized by the Heard Museum; Indian Reality Today, at Westfaliches Landesmuseum fur Naturkunde, Munster, Germany; Head, Heart and Hands, organized by the Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery in Louisville, KY and traveling to the American Craft Museum, New York, NY; Indian Time at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Santa Fe, NM; and the Museum of Art & Design’s Changing Hands 2: Art Without Reservation, New York, NY

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 30, at the Newport Performing Arts Center.

Rick Bartow
Observant, 1999
Acrylic on panel
24” x 24”
Photo courtesy of the Charles Froelick Gallery