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Matthew Ritchie. Proposition Player (installation view), 2003. Installation at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. Matthew Ritchie working on The God Impersonator at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. 2005.
Matthew Ritchie. Proposition Player (installation view), 2003. Installation at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.
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Matthew Ritchie working on The God Impersonator at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. 2005.
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Matthew Ritchie

As a Fabric Workshop and Museum Artist-in-Residence, Matthew Ritchie worked in collaboration with the FWM to create The God Impersonator, an intricate, colorful floor sculpture that forms one part of the artist's larger, interactive installation and exhibition, Proposition Player. Constructed from custom-colored Johnsonite floor tiles, each interlocking piece was water jet-cut into CAD rendered shapes.

In addition to The God Impersonator, the FWM also presents Ritchie's latest work, Clinamen, a single-channel animation projection that is the prototype for a total animated environment and co-produced by the FWM; The Two-Way Joint, a backlit lenticular print which carries an image that changes when viewed from different vantage points; Proposition Player, an interactive craps game that takes the player through five stages of the evolution of the universe; and a variety of paintings and drawings, including a suite of drawings titled Five of a Kind.

Ritchie was the subject of an exhibition at the FWM in 2005, Matthew Ritchie: Proposition Player, an exhibition of artworks created with an interest in engaging consciousness. While the works contain a seemingly chaotic arrangement of colors and forms, each piece is in fact a deliberate map of the limitless connections that make up the universe's implicit order. The visual and underlying order in Ritchie's work mirrors the chaos and order of the universe.

The density of the work on view is the result of Matthew Ritchie's desire to see everything. "It's a fathomless desire, a weakness and a strength. But to do such a thing, you have to turn information into a physical form." Drawing from varied subjects—ranging from quantum physics to philosophy, from comparative religion to color theory, from game theory to mythology to pulp fiction—Ritchie offers an opportunity for viewers to use his abstract maps and characters to further explore concepts accessible in the public domain.

In an attempt to organize the abundance of information he has gathered, the artist conceived of forty-nine characters organized in a matrix of seven families of seven. These characters reappear in his work, continuously creating new narratives and possibilities and constantly establishing relationships with one another.

A "proposition player" is a person brought in by a casino to encourage play. Ritchie, through this compelling interactive work, becomes a proposition player of sorts, inviting viewers to join him in a game. While explorers may choose to refer to his playing cards, texts and charts to untangle the complex continuum of Ritchie's universe, all viewers can loose themselves in the sheer energy, vibrancy, and depth contained within his work. "In the information casino," states the artist, "everyone can be a player."

 


Bio
Born 1964, London. Lives and works in New York City.
Matthew Ritchie attended Boston University and received his BFA from the Camberwell School of Art, London. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston organized the first major museum exhibition of Ritchie's work in 2003 which traveled to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, Mass. Recent solo exhibitions of his work were also held at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, N.Y. (2002), Dallas Museum of Art (2001) Dallas, Texas, White Cube, London, England (2001), and Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL. (2000). Ritchie has been included in group exhibitions such as the São Paulo Bienal, São Paulo, Brazil (2004), the Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (2002), Sprawl at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (2002), Urgent Painting at LARC/Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris, France (2002) and Drawing Now: Eight Propositions at the Museum of Modern Art, Queens, N.Y. (2002)