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  • Provenance

    Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Matthew Ritchie’s Mastermind from 2002 appears as hyperactive nucleus of the artist’s own inner workings. On the one hand the painting appears as a microscopic analysis of the artist’s cellular makeup, with eyeballs repetitively staring out at the viewer. Yet simultaneously the dizzying array of elements and colors incorporated suggest figments of his own imagination. In either modicum, the canvas explodes with dynamism that defines Ritchie’s stance in the new realms of figurative painting.

    As if to confuse his audience, Ritchie appears on the cusp of revealing his sources. By proposing one narrative structure he simultaneously contradicts himself and allows for a “virtually inexhaustible range of possible combinations and storylines, and through which Ritchie has symbolized the manifold and complex interactions among art, religion, politics, science, and other systems of knowledge and belief… [fueled with] simultaneously cosmic and local adventure” (J. Gilmore, “Matthew Ritchie”, Tema Celeste, volume 83, 2001). On one viewing the work appears intra-cellular, like a bacterial culture between glass on a microscope’s slide; upon another the same work presents as voluminous, expansively figurative.

    Whether considered a virtual panorama or subcutaneous close-up, Mastermind is an exciting example of the ongoing dialogue between classical creative means and contemporary reality. As Jonathan Gilmore describes, “Despite its welter of often arcane references (which sometimes suggest not so much deep understanding, as a voracious accumulation of context-less theoretical fragments), Ritchie’s works does not appear to be intentionally cryptic. For it is less concerned with the internal theoretical workings of sciences such as biology, probability, thermodynamics, geology, and statistics that with the ways in which these scientific systems (as well as philosophical, historical, and political kinds of knowledge) function as structures of information; as the symbolic architecture that forms the world,” (ibid).



Oil and felt-tip marker on canvas.

82 x 121 in. (208.3 x 307.3 cm).

£70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for £108,000

The Marino Golinelli Collection

13 October 2007, 1pm