Curtis Bartone’s drawings and etchings focus on the uneasy relationship between human beings and the natural world. In particular, Bartone’s work addresses the concept of wilderness, which is typically presented as a distorted fiction rather than a mysterious, pristine reality. The artist fuses Italian Renaissance painting, seventeenth-century Dutch still life, and nineteenth-century scientific illustration with a twenty-first century aesthetic to create works that explore our attempts to tame, control, and consume our surroundings. The varied flora and fauna presented in Bartone’s art are often drawn from his personal experience of the natural environments of far-flung countries including Iceland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Zambia, and New Zealand. Filtered through art history and mass media, his works synthesize seemingly disparate elements, revealing connections, beauty, and order amidst apparent disharmony.
Bartone was born in 1965 in Erie, Pennsylvania. He received a B.F.A. from the Columbus College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. in painting from Northwestern University in Chicago. He relocated to Savannah in 2001 to teach printmaking at the Savannah College of Art and Design, but since 2006 has devoted himself full-time to his art. The landscape and wildlife of the Low Country environment, and the contrast with the rampant development and, in some cases, destruction of the marshes and woodlands, have become an integral theme in his work.
Bartone is represented by Byron Roche Gallery and Printworks Gallery-both in Chicago, Illinois. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions internationally, and in solo shows at Byron Roche; the Morris Graves Museum of Art in California; SPACE Gallery in Savannah; Gallery Stokes in Atlanta; Listagil Gallery in Akureyri, Iceland; the Elmhurst Art Museum in Illinois; and the University of Illinois in Chicago; among other institutions. Bartone has been the recipient of the Gil Society Studio Residency Fellowship in Akureyri, Iceland; two Illinois state art council grants; and a grant from the Vogelstein Foundation in New York. His work is included in the Telfair’s permanent collection.
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Curtis Bartone; Forbidden, 2009; Lithograph on Arches 88; 22 x 28 inches; Courtesy of the Artist