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Matt Ritchie "Conferno" @ Spoke Art, San Francisco

Juxtapoz // Friday, 01 Aug 2014
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This Saturday, August 2nd, Spoke Art will present the latest solo show by Bay Area artist Matt Ritchie aka Matt136 (Featured in our January 2014 "Imagination Issue"). Titled “Confero” the show is a collection of small hand cut wood pieces individually painted and assembled to create larger inclusive combinations. Matt’s new body of work pays homage to a plethora of cultural interests and subjects from the artist’s past. A child of the 1970s, Matt’s work surveys an eclectic array of different sub-cultures, including everything from Battle Star Galactica and The Micronauts to classic comic books, video games and cartoons. His range of interests are only matched by his encyclopedic expertise on each subject. Matt’s childhood memories serve as an endless catalogue for all-things-cool, listening to him explain his work is like having an docent into a limitless underground world.

Working in his signature style, Matt’s wood-cut paintings are distinct in both their small scale and crisp aesthetic. Drawing from the bold graphic artistry of comic books and tattoo illustration, Matt’s work remains steadfastly clean and minimal. Being that each piece is composed on cut wood, the work borders on sculptural, all while retaining the bold illustrative aesthetic that Matt cultivates.

Once a handful of themed works are completed, the artist encases the collection in a larger hand designed frame, contextually emblematic of its contents. The title of the show, “Confero”, in Latin translates: “to bring together, put together, collect.” Acting as a cultural anthropologist, Ritchie seeks to accumulate and document the world that he admires so dearly, archiving every facet of his creative mind and energy.

For “Confero” the artist also explores notions of design and utility in everyday life. Expanding on his already popular wood works, Matt designed and organized different bodies of objects within color coded frames. Each frame holds an assemblage of commonplace objects and items, all uniquely tied together with one universal color. Examining how we interact with design on a daily basis, Matt’s work attempts to reveal the deeper psychology behind form and functionality.

A man of many skills, Matt’s new body of work utilizes his talents as an illustrator, craftsman, and all around cultural archaeologist. Working alongside the artist group, Zerofriends, has also had an immense influence on him. Interacting with a group of supportive and prolific artists, including such luminaries as Alex Pardee and Dave Correia, has provided Ritchie with the continual influence and support needed to refine his craft and explore new ways of art making. The opening reception for “Confero” will take place Saturday August 2nd at Spoke Art in San Francisco. The artist will be in attendance.

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