Wilson Art Gallery at Le Moyne College is pleased to present: “ISLAND PORTRAITS – THE MEN” by George Bartko. These portraits are of men the artist has observed for years during his daily morning breakfast sitting at table #4 at the Surfside café near his Vinalhaven, Maine home and studio. They were conceived not only as a series of individual records, but as a unified installation piece with a cumulative effect, similar to a chapel full of icons.
With formal concerns rooted in color, Bartko is interested in portraying the “beingness” of the sitter as a function of form modulated by color. The men look straight on, full face and emblematic, recalling fifteenth and sixteenth century European votive paintings. Though his neighbors may recognize themselves in a portrait – George wants to confront them with his perceptions—how the artist metabolizes what he sees. Best described by Rembrandt; “All painting is self portrait.”