Rick Bartow (1946 - 2016) - a lifelong Oregonian, a Vietnam Veteran, an enrolled member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Indians - continues to garner recognition as one of the leaders of contemporary Native American art. "The Bear's Song" is a selection of acrylic paintings, pastel drawings, prints, and carved wood sculpture that spans the artist's prolific career. Here, his imagery is centered around bears, which Bartow once called "a symbol for protective motherhood and as a symbol of medicine and ancient doctoring", as well as masks, which he recognized as powerful objects, not to be approached or represented lightly. Present, too, are birds, his constant interlocutors, and horned bull men, as well as a small, early self-portrait, ringed in brushstrokes of opaque black.
Froelick Gallery remains committed, as ever, to Rick Bartow and his legacy through our ongoing efforts in concert with the Richard E. Bartow Trusts to ensure his works are widely seen and placed in museum, public and private collections.