Monday, November 16, 2009

Line Shot: Matthew Ritchie

[“Manifold Atlas” (2009), oil & marker on canvas. “Initial Series” (2009), oil & marker on linen. “The Dawn Line (Sun Dog Variant)” (2009), aluminum structural units & epoxy coating. “Hypercycle” (2009), oil & marker on linen.]

Synthesizing and expressing complex systems and cosmologies in creation of new forms and exploration of myths has come to a most expansive level in “Line Shot,” Matthew Ritchie’s fourth solo exhibition at Andrea Rosen Gallery that is up through December 2, 2009. Since his 2006 show, “The Universal Adversary,” at the gallery, Ritchie has amplified his work across disciplines and into collaborative projects with physicists, composers, writers, actors, architects, and engineers, aimed at developing a group of visual and performance environments that can theoretically sustain not one, but every possible representation of the universe.

Simultaneously, Ritchie has created a unique and dynamic digital world explicating his drawings and allowing him to film inside this world with a vast bank of images and narratives at his disposal—all of which inform increasingly sophisticated videos deployed into these collaborations.

In “Hypermusic”—a collaboration with theoretical physicist Lisa Randall and Catalan composer Hector Parra—Ritchie’s complex work hits a more concrete groove. Randall—the first tenured female theoretical physicist at MIT and Harvard—published the Randall-Sundrum model, while Parra created “Karst-Chroma II,” an exploration of geo-harmonic strata. This level of outreach by Ritchie exudes more relevance and legibility to multiple and broader communities, ultimately building upon the very concept of creativity.

A series of large paintings using gorgeous abstract iconography to describe the pure space of creation will be exhibited in the gallery. Other works include: “Line Shot,” a one hour animated feature film (with music and spoken text); “Haruspex,” a series of drawings made in collaboration with authors; and “The Dawn Line,” a modular structure part of “The Morning Line.” The latter is a vast architectural, film, and musical collaboration created with architects Aranda\Lasch and Arup AGU. (The latter—known for innovative and sustainable designs—accomplished the Sydney Opera House, the Centre Pompidou, and structures at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.) “The Morning Line” includes commissioned music by Bryce Dessner, Boston-based composer Evan Ziporyn, Sonic Youth co-founder Lee Ranaldo, Dutch composer Thom Willems, Sigur Ros guitarist and vocalist Jon “Jonsi” Birgisson, and others.

“The Long Count” references the cosmology of the Popol Vuh (a corpus of mythological narratives from the Quiché kingdom in what is now Guatemala) and the respective World Series of 1975 and 1976, which saw back-to-back victories by the National League’s Cincinnati Reds—the last National League team to do so. Conceived as an endless creation, a pooled text, and with characters understood as ideas in motion, “The Long Count” builds and dismantles a world before time. As in many of Ritchie's works, fragments of games and stories are used as counterpoints and motifs between the various performers and ideas which are quartered, folded, and unpacked over and over again.

The exhibition has been held in conjunction with “The Long Count,” part of the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A one-hour work based on intertwined American creation myths—written and directed by Matthew Ritchie—the performance included music by twin brothers (and members of The National) Aaron and Bryce Dessner and featured the deep baritone of The National’s Matt Berniger, Pixies bassist Kim Deal and her twin Kelley, and My Brightest Diamond lead singer and songwriter Shara Worden. The artist’s referencing of Popol Vuh—with its account of the mythological hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanqué—is ironic considering Ritchie’s collaboration with two sets of twins in “The Long Count.”

Ritchie’s work has been exhibited at the St. Louis Art Museum, P.S. 1 Center for Contemporary Art, MoMA, The Guggenheim, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego), Guggenheim Bilbao, Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco), Reykjavik Art Museum, and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (Dresden).

Line Shot: Matthew Ritchie

Through December 2, 2009

@ Andrea Rosen Gallery

525 West 24th Street, New York City 10011

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