Reader Review: Three local galleries show 50 years of work in Bartek retrospective

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October 3rd, 2012

Omaha, NE – International Artist Tom Bartek, based in Omaha, is having a trio of gallery shows, including one in the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Art Gallery opening October 5th.

To commemorate his 80th birthday, artist Tom Bartek is showing over 40 assemblages produced throughout the years 1956-2012 as part of a local three-gallery career retrospective. Complementing his work is an exhibit of print collages by contemporary, print-collage artist Thomas Majeski.

“Flint Hills Manitou” by Tom Bartek.

Bartek is an Omaha native who studied art at Cooper Union in New York City and spent years as exhibitions manager at Joslyn Art Museum. He is most known for his silk screen printing produced in the 1970s and ‘80s. His stenciled fine art original prints featuring rural scenes have been displayed internationally in museums and private collections. Locally, residents are familiar with the glass murals that adorn the Woodman Building in downtown Omaha that he designed for Nebraska’s 100-year anniversary as a state in 1967.

Nebraska Arts Council’s Fred Simon Gallery is exhibiting a series of these along with his paintings through November 12. At Creighton University’s Lied Art Gallery, Bartek is also showing his acrylic paintings featuring juxtaposed heartland scenes.

The UNO Art Gallery is exclusively showing his sculpture and assemblages where his surrealistic aesthetics and inspirations from both his time in New York City and his home of Omaha are visible in three dimensions. “Flint Hills Manitou,” a sculpture, reveals an architectural form in brown and turquoise blue. Faint images of trees and farmhouses barely reveal themselves imprinted in the brown form, as blue branches hold it up.

“Assemblage 09″ by Tom Bartek.

Painted branches take form in his assemblages too like in “Assemblage 09,” matching blue hue with a printed image of roses bizarrely growing out of branches in the snow.

Bartek’s connection is apparent in the colorful abstract work of longtime UNO art professor and current art department chair Thomas Majeski, whose work has been in collections internationally. In “Ashland,” a relief print, bright pink, green and blue geometric forms pile atop each other creating a pleasantly haphazard conceptual scene.

Majeski will give an art talk at noon October 17. Bartek will speak at 7pm October 18, both in the UNO gallery. The opening reception is October 5th at the Gallery in the first floor of the Weber Fine Arts Building. The show runs through November 8th.

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