Matthew Ritchie ( British, 1964 )
Matthew Ritchie's suite of etchings, _Sea State Five, _is rooted in an elaborate, original story that involves forty-nine characters, but essentially centers around a love triangle between an astronaut, an actress, and an envious golem. Composed of both delicate and deep swirling lines, and deep, soft colors, each etching seems to continually morph, recombine, and expand space. Attempting to understand Ritchie's works - which span from wall drawings to sculptures to installations - requires viewers to invest themselves in his fantastical universe. In this set of etchings [2002.23.1, 2004.23.2, 2004.23.4, 2003.24.5], the actress, represented as a swirling storm, is struck by symbols of love from both her admirers, foiling the golem's attempt to enchant her.
The artist intends for viewers to find his works perplexing, considering the struggle to reconcile content and appearance a kind of game for his audience. Storytelling is part of Ritchie's continued experimentation with information. Concerned that people passively consume information, including the ideas in works of art, his continually unfolding tale and the complex ways he illustrates it keep the content from ever becoming static.
Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 65.