Oil and ink on canvas
66 x 76 x 1 1/4 in.
167.6 x 193 x 3.2 cm
James Cohan is pleased to present A Garden in the Machine, an exhibition of new work by Matthew Ritchie, on view at the gallery’s 48 Walker Street location from September 10 through October 15. This is Ritchie’s debut solo exhibition with James Cohan. The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist on Saturday, September 10 from 2 - 6 PM, and a conversation between Matthew Ritchie and Carroll Dunham on Saturday, September 24 at 3 PM.
The Garden in the Machine brings together a monumental sculpture with two new series of paintings and a related film. These works explore the ways in which Ritchie synthesizes complicated systems of information–from the mathematical to the botanical to the poetic–to create an artificial nature of expressive new hybrid forms. The gesture, or the mark, becomes a means of teasing out the overlapping threads and knotty contradictions between seemingly disparate realms of understanding.
These new works are the results of his experimentation with a type of artificial intelligence known as generative adversarial networks (GANs), a machine learning framework that treats images as data. Ritchie began by running the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art through the program, training it to convert a data stream of portraits, landscapes, and botanical illustrations from the collection into a singular visual language. Caudex, 2022, a film by Ritchie, captures snapshots of the GANs as it runs through multiple serial progression–what the artist terms “code walks”– in which new forms emerge and recede, guided by the artist’s hand and resembling a blooming garden of converging data.