Rick Bartow - Coyote's Road
Michael Schultheis - Winds of Menelaus

July 19 - August 27, 2011

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Michael S
A highly prolific multidisciplinary artist, Rick Bartow’s three decade career has shown him to be a sculptor, painter, printmaker, musician and storyteller of the highest order, Coyote’s Road finds the artist using a pantheon of creatures- bears, coyotes, birds, fish, bull men- to approach themes of mortality, longevity and healing. Bartow employs the metaphor of walking a great distance to represent long life; the foot is a recurring image, suggesting ritual dance, connection to the land and the simple but important act of carrying oneself.
Central to the exhibit is the monumental sculpture Bear Mother Dancing on Ignorance/Fear, which stands at nearly ten feet tall and is carved from the wood of a tree harvested from the University of Oregon campus. The bear’s angled face is reminiscent of Kabuki theatre; pointed, pencil-like bristles form a halo around her head and shoulders; many hand shapes play over her torso, as if of those in her care; her anthropomorphic feet tread upon a skull and bones- the titular plagues. Says Bartow: “The image of the bear made herself known to me years ago but recently appeared in the tall book end maple planks, begging to be reawakened once more as a symbol for protective motherhood and as a symbol of medicine and ancient doctoring.”

Seattle painter Michael Schultheis returns to Froelick Gallery with his recent body of work, Winds of Menelaus. Schultheis’ luminous acrylic canvases roil with layered colors and fluid forms coupled with spare, diagram-like line work and scrawled mathematical formulae- the effect is that of a primordial or cosmic gestation. In this exhibit, he explores ideas posited by the ancient Greek mathematicians Euclid of Alexandria (Optics, 280 BC) and Menelaus of Alexandria (Sphaerica, 98 AD). Euclid was the first to describe plane geometry, which Schultheis likens to a triangular ship’s sail. Menelaus gave us spherical trigonometry, the wind that billows the sail into a volumetric form- the breath of life. An extension of his fascination with the human capacity to visualize mathematics and the universal, ageless language of notation, his work is an inquiry into ways in which such concepts are manifested in the physical world.