Oil and ink on canvas
66 x 76 x 1 1/4 in.
167.6 x 193 x 3.2 cm
James Cohan is pleased to present A Garden in the Machine, an exhibition of new work by Matthew Ritchie, on view at the gallery’s 48 Walker Street location from September 10 through October 15. This is Ritchie’s debut solo exhibition with James Cohan. The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist on Saturday, September 10 from 2 - 6 PM, and a conversation between Matthew Ritchie and Carroll Dunham on Saturday, September 24 at 3 PM.
A Garden in the Machine brings together two new series of paintings, drawings, and a related film with a monumental sculpture. These works explore the ways in which Ritchie synthesizes systems; from the mathematical to the botanical to the poetic, to create a deeply personal language of expressive hybrid forms. The gesture becomes a means of teasing out the overlapping threads and knotty contradictions between seemingly disparate realms of understanding.
Ritchie’s new paintings depict looping vortexes of chimerical limbs and primeval roots, strange organic forms that seem to hover perpetually on the thresholds of cognition and formation. In each work, he builds a richly evocative world that feels at once deeply familiar and eerily foreign. This push and pull between dissonance and harmony, between the beautiful and the grotesque, constitutes what he has referred to as the “plasmatic space of painting.”
These works are an outgrowth of Ritchie’s experimentation with a type of machine learning known as generative adversarial networks (GANs), which treat images as data from which to develop new imagery. For each of the series included in the exhibition, he trained the program using different databases of drawings, portraits, and landscapes drawn from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, medieval art, and his own works into a singular visual language. The GANs functions as an image generator from which he can intuitively build his own compositions.