'Things You Know' coming to Aurora's Schingoethe Center

  • The Schingoethe Center at Aurora University will display more than 120 works by Native American artist Rick Bartow.

    The Schingoethe Center at Aurora University will display more than 120 works by Native American artist Rick Bartow. Courtesy The Schingoethe Center

Schingoethe Center submission
Posted1/5/2018 12:22 PM

More than 120 paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints will be on view in "Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain," a retrospective exhibition opening Jan. 23 at the Schingoethe Center at Aurora University.

Bartow was one of the nation's prominent contemporary Native American artists and The Schingoethe Center is known for featuring cutting-edge American Indian art and scholarship.

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Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, the exhibition opens with a reception at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, and a curator's lecture at 6:45 p.m. at the center, 1315 Prairie St. The exhibit, which runs through April 13, is curated by Jill Hartz, Schnitzer Museum executive director, and Danielle Knapp, Schnitzer Museum associate curator.

Drawn from public and private collections, as well as the artist's studio, the exhibition and accompanying catalog explore themes central to Bartow's work and life: "Gesture," "Self," "Dialogue," "Tradition" and "Transformation," as well as "New Work," featuring examples of his production after his stroke in August 2013 that evidence a new freedom of scale and expression.

"Rick Bartow's work was all about relationships -- how the worlds of nature, humans and spirit connect, influence and balance one another," Hartz said. "This nearly 40-year retrospective aims to reveal the layers of Bartow's world view and his astonishing command of materials. It has something to say to everyone."

"He expertly transitions between media and techniques and had a tremendous command of color," Knapp said. "His knowledge of artistic, literary and musical traditions from all over the world was balanced with the autobiographical elements he incorporated into his artwork."


Bartow was born in Newport, Oregon, in 1946 and died in 2016 from congestive heart failure. He was a member of the Wiyot tribe of Northern California and had close ties with the Siletz community. He graduated in 1969 from Western Oregon University with a degree in secondary arts education and served in the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1971.

His work is permanently held in more than 60 public institutions in the U.S., including the Yale University Art Gallery, Brooklyn Museum and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. He had 35 solo museum exhibitions and his art has been referenced in more than 250 books, catalogs and articles.

In 2012, commissioned by The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, Bartow created "We Were Always Here," a monumental pair of sculptures more than 20 feet high, that were installed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

If you go

What: "Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain"

When: Opening Tuesday, Jan. 23

Where: The Schingoethe Center, 1315 Prairie St., Aurora

Cost: Free

Info: aurora.edu/museum/

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