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Ray Bartkus: Storylines

March 17, 2015

As a painter, digital and installation artist, and illustrator, Ray Bartkus experiments with form. In the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery’s upcoming exhibition, Storylines, Bartkus’s monumental figurative paintings address how representational art is a tool for exploring the mysteries of humankind. From April 7 through May 24, his paintings and installations will take viewers into new and immersive environments. This is the first time these works will be shown in the United States, having largely been shown internationally in Austria, Japan, Lithuania, Poland and the Netherlands. In addition to his paintings, Bartkus is known for his illustrations which have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Harper's, Billboard, Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe. A free-to-the-public opening reception will take place on April 9 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in the Gallery (3401 Filbert Street), and will include a talk with the artist.

Casting a contemporary perspective on classical paintings, Bartkus writes of his work: “While I admire and value modern and postmodern art tremendously, 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 a 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. 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. Bartkus is also the designer of the 50 litas bill, which is still in the circulation in Lithuania.

Click here to learn more about the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, which is free and open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00am – 6:00pm.