“An Artist romps around in the mystery like a child plays alone in his own backyard, imagining and making up his own rules and reality. An Artist romps around in the mystery like an animal roams the woods, curious and wide-eyed and alert. An Artist romps around in the mystery like an explorer traversing an unknown land, excited, careful and fully alive.”
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. His paintings celebrate the underlying epic nature of the commonplace and the personal significance of the extraordinary. And like Wyeth, Bartlett sees the importance of the smallest details in the overall picture and imbues his work with surreal ambiguity.
Bartlett was educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where realist principles must be grasped before modernist ventures are encouraged. He pushes the boundaries of the realist tradition with his multilayered imagery. Life, death, passage, memory, and confrontation coexist easily in his world. Family and friends are the cast of characters that appear in his dreamlike narrative works. Although the scenes are set around his childhood home in Georgia, his island summer home in Maine, his home in Pennsylavania or the surroundings of his studio and residence in Washington state, they represent a deeper, mythical concept of the archetypal, universal home.