Matthew Ritchie

Matthew Ritchie was born in London, England, in 1964, and lives and works in New York. He received a BFA from Camberwell School of Art, London, and attended Boston University. His artistic mission has been no less ambitious than an attempt to represent the entire universe and the structures of knowledge and belief that we use to understand and visualize it.

Ritchie’s encyclopedic project (continually expanding and evolving, like the universe itself) stems from his imagination, and is catalogued in a conceptual chart replete with allusions drawn from Judeo-Christian religion, occult practices, Gnostic traditions, and scientific elements and principles. Ritchie’s paintings, installations, and narrative threads delineate the universe’s formation as well as the attempts and limits of human consciousness to comprehend its vastness. Ritchie’s work deals explicitly with the idea of information being “on the surface,” and information is also the subject of his work.

Although often described as a painter, Ritchie creates works on paper, prints, light-box drawings, floor-to-wall installations, freestanding sculpture, websites, and short stories, which tie his sprawling works together into a narrative structure. Drawing is central to his work. He scans his drawings into the computer so that images can be enlarged, taken apart, made smaller or three-dimensional, reshaped, transformed into digital games, or given to someone else to execute. One ongoing work that Ritchie calls “an endless drawing” contains everything he has drawn before.

Ritchie’s work has been shown in one-person exhibitions at Dallas Museum of Art; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; among others. His work was also exhibited at the Whitney Biennial (1997), Sydney Biennale (2002), and Bienal de São Paulo (2004).

Artist’s website

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Teaching with Contemporary Art

Decay: Ecology of a Nurse Log

Educator-in-Residence Tricia Fitzpatrick uses the curiosity of a student to prompt a lesson on sustainable ecosystems.


Engineering “The Morning Line”

Architect Benjamin Aranda, of Aranda/Lasch, discusses his contribution to artist Matthew Ritchie’s anti-pavillion project The Morning Line (2008), produced in collaboration with engineer-architect Daniel Bosia & Arup AGU, and physicists Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok.


John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”

Matthew Ritchie discusses the influence of John Milton’s 1667 epic poem Paradise Lost in his 2008 exhibition The Morning Line.


Drawing, Architecture, and the “Spectrum of Experience”

Matthew Ritchie discusses his 2008 exhibition The Morning Line in his New York studio. The Morning Line was be on view October 2, 2008 – January 11, 2009 at the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville, Spain, as part of the 3rd Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo de Seville.


“Proposition Player”

Matthew Ritchie discusses his work’s relation to scientific processes, as well as the participatory nature of his 2003 project Proposition Player.


Information, Cells, and Evil

Matthew Ritchie talks about his 2004 installation for the São Paolo Biennial, The Universal Cell, and recent shifts the artist sees in the practice of contemporary art making.


“Drawing is very central to the way that I work because it can be blown up, taken apart…. You can just keep on pushing it, like this infinite machine….”

Matthew Ritchie