The Family Farm, 2001
Matthew Ritchie

Photo: Niki Lackner / Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz

Mixed media installation consisting of
“The Family Farm,” 2001 (ink and graphite on Mylar).
“Germinal,” 2001 (oil and marker on canvas).
“Establishing Shot,” 2001 (oil and marker on canvas).
“The Family Farm,” 2001 (Duratrans Lambda prints in lightbox).
“The Family Farm,” 2001 (acrylic and marker on wall, enamel on Sintra).
“Calabi Yau Space,” 2000 (acrylic and marker on wall).
“You may already be a winner,” 2000 (marker on wall).
75 x 176 cm (Mylar)
183 x 305 cm (each canvas)
305 x 152 cm (light box)

Matthew Ritchie’s work explores the manifold creation stories and myths of the universe: religious, scientific, and cultural narratives created to express inexhaustible, symbolic patterns and offer explanations for understanding the human and natural, more-than-human worlds. The Family Farm is a pictorial environment composed of paintings, lightboxes, wall drawings, and large-scale topographical installation combining personal history, cosmology, and the myths and geology of the United Kingdom. Ritchie’s installation involves the collision of timescales and the kaleidoscopic dispersal of various narratives and information systems. The Family Farm links the artist’s grandmother’s childhood, spent on an apple farm subsequently displaced by the expansion of London Heathrow Airport, with a history of the universe. In particular, the work explores the period known as the Great Oxidation Event, when aerobic life took over the planet and displaced its existing occupants, scientific findings such as Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, and spatial renderings of quantum theories. It also includes references to the Celtic cult of the severed head, and to the fact that the coastline of Scotland was once connected to both Maine and Norway, before the break-up of Pangaea, the original super-continent.