"Matthew Ritchie: Florilegium"
Exhibition: Now through Dec. 10, 2021 | Free, open to the public | Press Release
Artist Talk: Sept. 15, 2021 | 11 a.m., Paul Voertman Concert Hall, UNT Music Building | Free, open to the public
Live Musical Performance: Oct. 9, 2021: "Infinite Movement"
2022: Art in Public Places Installation of Shadow Garden by Matthew Ritchie
Aug. 24–Dec. 10, 2021: Internationally renowned artist Matthew Ritchie is debuting an interdisciplinary exhibition at the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design Gallery this fall.
Ritchie is a New York-based artist known for his paintings and installations that draw from the vocabularies of science, sociology, anthropology, mythology and the history of art. His artworks have been exhibited locally and internationally including at the Dallas Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and Barbican Centre in London.
"Matthew Ritchie: Florilegium" is a multi-layered installation inspired by Shadow Garden, his forthcoming Art in Public Places commission for the University of North Texas. This exhibition highlights Ritchie’s deep investigation into the history of mapping human knowledge and lived experience using complex systems. As part of his ongoing exploration, Florilegium accentuates the looming presence of the internet and the virtual nature of communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ritchie’s research for this project focused on GANs or generative adversarial networks. A GAN is a machine learning framework in which two computer networks are joined in a competition. By using images as data, the framework creates distinct variations based on similarities and differences. Shifting between many forms of information and exploiting the GAN’s unsettling power to infinitely iterate new forms, Ritchie has created unique, uncanny artworks that echo the current paradox of stasis and change in which we find ourselves. The outcomes suggest both the shadow of the ongoing epidemic and the continuing creative potential of the conditions it imposes.
The term florilegium has historically been described as a collection of “flowers of thought.” In his exhibit in the CVAD Gallery, Ritchie investigates the history of mapping human knowledge and lived experience using complex systems. The artworks explore the looming presence of the internet and the virtual nature of communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What an incredible way to launch the academic year with a symbolic reopening of CVAD’s galleries — by presenting this new body of work by Matthew Ritchie," said CVAD Dean Karen Hutzel, Ph.D. "UNT and, therefore, the local community, are the first to see his exhibit, which simultaneously features CVAD’s incredible gallery and the Art Building where it lives. The depth and expansiveness of this collaborative project, 18 months in the making, has already provided our students with many opportunities to learn from and with Ritchie, coalescing in this exhibit. Equally exciting, we also celebrate a collaboration with the College of Music, forged between Ritchie and his musical collaborator Shara Nova.”
Ritchie collaborated and co-created an artwork with students from the Topics in Contemporary Art Practice class he co-taught with Stefanie Dlugosz-Acton, director, CVAD Galleries, in Spring 2020. As part of Florilegium, two videos — a co-created GAN artwork from the class and An Artist Lecture by Sean Lopez, created for the course — are visible after dusk throughout the exhibition on the northeast side of the Art Building at the corner of Mulberry and Welch streets.
“The diverse aspects of the project — song, sculpture, software, teaching, performance, painting and film — collectively create a larger space for an idea of the work that hovers in time and space, floating in the twilight area between raw information and human meaning, between signal and noise,” Ritchie said.
Oct. 9, 2021: "Infinite Movement" Live Musical Performance: As part of a larger collaborative project, Ritchie has been developing a joint performance titled "Infinite Movement" with Associate Professor Kristina MacMullen, D.M.A., in the UNT College of Music and UNT alumna Shara Nova, (B.A., Performance: Voice), to debut on Oct. 9, 2021, at 7 p.m. This event will explore musical possibilities to reflect, in sound, the process of the GAN, which finds connections between disparate images and imagines or generates what might exist in the space between them.
"Matthew Ritchie: Florilegium" will culminate with a digital publication documenting the exhibition, musical performance, sculpture, class, programming, and collaborative efforts of all those involved.