22 Oct 2017

Bo Bartlett

Bo Bartlett, David Lynch's long lost well adjusted brother

For the last few weeks Bo Bartlett has been kicking my ass. From his bio - "Bo Bartlett is an American realist with a modernist vision. His paintings are well within the tradition of American realism as defined by artists such as Thomas Eakins and Andrew Wyeth. Like these artists, Bartlett looks at America’s heart—its land and its people—and describes the beauty he finds in everyday life".

Parents, 1984, Oil on Linen, 88 x 112 in

 Bartlett reminds me of someone I know. The feeling is so strong I'm tempted to ring my mother and ask if he is a cousin. I'm haunted by his familiar look so deeply that my mind is desperately seeking parallels. It rests at Lynch. Not the dark surrealist meat punctuated painting or his mid-west face but his worlds. If Lynch is ants crawling then Bo is the starkly clear sky, the blood of heroes and tears of loved ones. But these are not completed tragedies. His oils are a few well crafted sentences of a fresh new novel, destined to be dragged from address to address and never sold, a favorite, a psalm. Quiet lessons meant to be read by just you. Here is hope, in fine honesty, and humble. 

"MADRE DEL NENE" 1989 - 1990, oil on linen, 70 x 94 in

 Bartlett's painting are often modeled for by his nearest and dearest. Knowing this alone forms interesting ideas but these are surface only. Strangely though, once you start dissecting these scenes, this, American history, religion and classical culture fall in and out of focus so fast the sum becomes almost insurmountable.

Leviathan, 2000, oil on linen, 89 x 138 in

The video below was recorded July 10th 2016 at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Despite the sound quality and occasional camera shudder, if you dig Bartlett, I highly recommend it. For we will not pass this way again. 

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