Bo Bartlett - Artists - Dowling Walsh

BO BARTLETT (b. 1955, Columbus, GA) Bo Bartlett paints grand human narratives and intimate private moments. Highly regarded as a painter of contemporary realism, his art is an act of discovery, a testament to living close to nature, and a record of the unsettled present. "The purpose of art is to wake us up," he says. A number of his recent paintings and pastel drawings depict figures poised on the edge between land and water, a liminal space of repose and unease, or at sea in an open boat voyaging to a destination not seen, reflecting on the uncertain nature of our time. Cinematic in scope and grounded in the figurative tradition, Bartlett's paintings speak to his training as a filmmaker and to the work of his mentor, Andrew Wyeth, and artistic forebears Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Singleton Copley, and Benjamin West. 

Bo Bartlett - Artists - Dowling Walsh

Bartlett received his Certificate of Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a Certificate of Filmmaking from New York University. In 2023, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art and an honorary Certificate from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. His work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at MOCA Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL; Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT; The Bo Bartlett Center, Columbus, GA; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; Weber Fine Art, Greenwich, CT; The Florence Academy of Art, Jersey City, NJ; Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI; and the Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL. Additionally, it has been included in numerous group exhibitions at museums throughout the United States and in Linz, Austria. Bartlett's work is in the collections of the Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA; Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, AR; Denver Museum of Art, Denver, CO; Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC; La Salle University Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA, among others. He lives and works in Columbus, GA, and Wheaton Island, ME.


Bo Bartlett - Artists - Dowling Walsh

"Bo Bartlett is very American. He’s fresh, he’s gifted, and he’s what we need in this country. Bo is one of the very few I feel this strongly about."

– Andrew Wyeth

"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.

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 Pennsylvania or the surroundings of his studio and residence in Washington state, they represent a deeper, mythical concept of the archetypal, universal home."

– Tom Butler, excerpt from the book Bo Bartlett, Heartland

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