LIMN gallery is pleased to present the work of Bay area artist, Rik Ritchey. This exhibition marks the first time he will exhibit carved wood bas-reliefs and polyurethane, "Tissue" paintings together. Though different in appearance in almost every way, the two series were created concurrently and in them the artist's concerns are similar.
The bas-relief works are carved from a single plank of wood where the application of various finishes and treatments enhance and render the shapes inherent in the works. Light and shadow, image and ground, structure and shape are depicted both by available light and the shadows that play across their surfaces. Because of their extreme verticality (up to 9 feet), viewer's eye must travel up and down the length repeatedly to create a full image of the work, slowing down the process of perceiving the object. The viewer re-enacts the work of the artist ... discovering the forms held within.
The "Tissue" paintings are the result of their material composition. The polyurethane surface conducts ink, pigment and paint throughout its interior by capillary action. As the artist directs these various mediums, effects begin to appear, which he continues to encourage. Bright reds and yellows sink deep into the core of the foam leaving just traces of a first contact within the surface. Figures and their surrounding space have expanded in all directions. Blues diffuse into greens like the road map of capillaries beneath the skin. Just as skin is the envelope covering the body it is also an organ, a tissue filled with systems and networks to support and protect. These paintings reveal internal formations in images and effects that are primarily seen on their surfaces but are the result of internal systems and networks that Ritchey utilizes in their creation. The bas-relief works have multiple readings, and the paintings too take on additional meaning with the addition of text stitched, stained, gouged, and burned in Morse Code onto their surfaces. Like the artifice of ink/tattoos, paint/cosmetics, piercing, gouging and cutting/scarification, these alterations are intended to carry a message. It is this competition for comprehension, for our attention that inspires the artist in these works. This is Rik Ritchey's first solo show with LIMN gallery.