Renowned International Artist Ray Bartkus Exhibits at Drexel

Bartkus' "Beauty and the Beast," 2006-2009.
Bartkus' "Beauty and the Beast," 2006-2009.

Storylines, a new exhibition at Drexel University’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery (3401 Filbert Street) in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, presents the work of Lithuanian-born artist and illustrator Ray Bartkus.

Creating immersive environments, Bartkus’s monumental, figurative paintings embrace and engulf viewers, projecting them into compelling, mysterious domains. Shown for the first time in the United States, much of this work has been seen internationally in Lithuania, Poland, Austria Japan and the Netherlands. 

The exhibition will be on display from Tuesday, April 7 – Sunday, May 24. An opening reception will take place on April 9 from 5 – 7 p.m. and will include a casual gallery talk with the artist. The gallery is free and open to the public Tuesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Barktus, who is renowned for illustrations appearing in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Time magazine, among others, believes that representational art is “a tool for exploring the mysteries of humankind and the universe.”

One of Bartkus' cover illustrations for the Wall Street Journal's "Weekend Journal."

“While I admire and value modern and postmodern art tremendously,” he said, “the curious feeling of engagement and learning about existential problems of today by looking into the paintings which were done 500 years ago by people with completely different worldview and mindset, intrigues me. I believe that a representational nature of the paintings makes this transcendence possible.”

Born Rimvydas Bartkus in Vilnius, Lithuania, the artist moved to New York in 1991 and subsequently to Philadelphia. Since graduating from Vilnius Art Academy as a printmaker, he has been creating lithographs, pencil drawings, digital art, installations and oil paintings, and exhibiting his work throughout the United States, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, France and Canada.

One of Bartkus' cover illustrations for the New York Times Book Review.

His works are on display in collections at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the National Art Museum of Lithuania, among many others. He is also the designer of the 50 litas bill, which is still in the circulation in Lithuania.

Bartkus' illustrations appear regularly on the covers and pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Harper's, Billboard, Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe, among other prestigious publications. Many of his illustrations have received awards from the Society of Publication Designers, the Society of Newspaper Designers and the Society of Illustrators.

About the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery
The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, part of Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, is committed to exhibiting novel and experimental art in all contemporary mediums including digital, video, sculpture, photography, graphics and fashion design. Located in Westphal College’s renovated URBN Annex, the Pearlstein Gallery spans more than 3,500 square feet and invites the public to view exhibits free of charge. For more information, click here.