Rimvydas (Ray) Bartkus exhibition "230 + 4"2022 06 13
Ray Bartkus’ works have been acquired by the Lithuanian Art Museum, Mo Museum, Lewben Art Foundation, BTA Corporate Collection, private collectors in Lithuania and the USA.
Although R. Bartkus was born in Vilnius, his homeland is in the village of Razmai, in Samogitia. Touching upon his Samogitian roots, especially on the occasion of the 230th anniversary of the founding of the city of Plungė, the artist has created works that will emphasize the uniqueness of the city of Plungė and will delight the residents and visitors of the city for a long time.
Exhibition "230 + 4"
When Ray Bartkus visited Plungė at the beginning of March, he was charmed by the landscape rich in nature and content. In such a small geographical area lakes, centuries-old forests and rolling hills are also delightful. In Plungė, the artist was able to experience the rich historical development of the place, from the primordial beginnings of the post-glacial period to the subtleties of the time of the Counts. Inspired by the tranquil surface of the ‘Plungė Sea’, the natural grandeur of the Mykolas Oginskis Palace Park and the picturesque Mykolas Oginskis Palace, the artist designed 4 unique installations. The installations are dedicated to the 4 cornerstones of our universe: the sun, water, life and art/creativity.
1. Creativity: GARDENS – this is the traditional Lithuanian folk art interpreted via contemporary means of expression. Elementary geometric shapes, recognisable since ancient Egyptian times, shine in new colours, testifying to the evolution of human history, to the enduring creativity, the vitality of traditions and their influences on the understanding of the modern world.
2. Life: WREATHS – these are oak wreaths illuminated by changing colours in the park garden. Oaks, which are reborn every year after winter, become the embodiment of incessant vitality, their illuminated foliage, like mysterious beacons, offering hope and showing the way in the park drowning in darkness.
3. Water: BRIDGES – these are semicircular lines of light that, with the help of reflection in water, become ideal ovals. Matter and its ephemeral reflection become one image. This ever-changing effect is impossible without water and its reflection.
4. Sun: SUN TRAIL – these are ornaments of the sunlight spots on the museum’s facade wall. Their playful glow, depending on the time of day and the meteorological conditions, will blaze new trails for the soul, enticingly inviting new aspirations.
Rimvydas (Ray) Bartkus was born in 1961 in Vilnius; in 1986, he graduated from the Vilnius Academy of Arts with a degree in graphics. After studies, he created lithographs, drawings and participated in exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad. He was also the author of the 50 litas banknote decorated with the portrait of Jonas Basanavičius, which circulated before the euro was introduced.
After receiving an offer to present his works at Morehead State University in the USA, Bartkus left in 1991 and settled in New York with his wife Ina and son Kristijonas.
Ray’s works caught the eye of the art editor of The New York Times. The artist’s illustrations have been published for three decades in Time, Newsweek, Harper’s, New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Business Weekly, Fortune , Smart Money, New Republic, Business Weekly, Christian Science Monitor, and in other publications. Many of his illustrations have been awarded the Society of Publication Designers, the Society of Newspaper Designers and the Society of Illustrators Best Illustration of the Year awards.
In order to expand his creative vision, Ray did not limit himself to illustration, he focuses on painting, installations, digital art, and his favorite media: drawings. The artist presented his work in solo exhibitions at the Gate Gallery in Vilnius (2007,2008, 2010), the Titanic Gallery in Vilnius (2013), the ZEH Gallery in Kiev (2009), the Pearlstein Gallery in Philadelphia (2015), the NEON Gallery in Wroclaw (2013), and the Hofburg Palace in Vienna (2005), Salle des Pas Perdus in Geneva (2013), Leopoldskron Palace in Salzburg (2015), the United Nations Headquarters in New York (2016, 2018), Federal Hall in New York (2018), Kimmel Art Center in Philadelphia (2018).
After gaining recognition in America, Bartkus has not forgotten Lithuania, as he has been organising the MaLonNY Art Symposium for the past nine years, during which artists, musicians and designers from New York and London have been creating various art projects in Marijampolė. Ray Bartkus has been awarded the Lithuanian Diplomacy Star, the Global Lithuania Award and the American Chamber of Commerce U.S. Cultural Ambassador title by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the development and strengthening of cultural ties between the USA and Lithuania.