The First Art Museum presents Matthew Ritchie: A Garden Under the Flood, a thematic survey of the artist’s work since 2000, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and videos. Organized by the Frist Art Museum, the exhibition will be presented in the upper galleries from November 11, 2022 to March 5, 2023.

Matthew Ritchie is an internationally renowned artist who has exhibited in major museums around the world, including the Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art; his works were also featured in the 2018 exhibition Frist Art Museum Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century. A pioneer in the integration of disciplines and the combination of mediums, Ritchie has created deeply symbolic and dynamic installations that often involve architects, dancers, musicians and other creatives.

“This exhibition is ideal for a creative city like Nashville, with its deep-rooted and enduring tradition of cross-disciplinary artistic collaborations,” said Mark Scala, chief curator of the Frist Art Museum. In a recording that serves as the soundtrack for the exhibition and accompanies Ritchie’s new film Telmunthe Grammy Award-winning Fisk Jubilee Singers perform specially commissioned music by acclaimed composer Hanna Benn.

“Ritchie’s works show inner and outer space converging in views of black holes and particle clouds, organic mutations and human fantasies, sacred music and scorched cityscapes,” Scala said. Bursting with luminous colors, surreal shapes and evocative symbols, they are efforts to visualize the deep human desire to develop “theories of everything” in fields as diverse as literature, mythology, philosophy, science and technology.

Although his attempts to portray abstract and invisible forces are often rooted in complex theory, Ritchie’s art can be appreciated on a strictly aesthetic level. He writes: “Information is itself a material, just like painting, music or cinema. All my works can be fully experienced without reading a single text. But like the tales of Scheherazade in Thousand and one Nightor a multiverse like the Marvel Universe, there are stories within stories here, if you choose to explore them.”

Mildred D. Field