"Equally Herculean is Matthew Ritchie's ongoing project to tell the story of the origin of the universe. To this end, Ritchie has done research on a range of topics including Big Band theory, medieval iconography, alchemy, philosophy, biology, religion, physics, politics, comics, quantum mechanics, and detective novels. He launched this project in 1995, by constructing a color-coded chart that opened the doors to a range of possible interactions between forty-nine characters, each embodying a unique set of attributes, both spiritual and physical. With that, he was off on his amazing adventure that one critic has characterized as "a biblical version of science fiction."
Real-world data is infused with metaphor. Laws of thermodynamics come to life in a love triangle involving a movie star and an astronaut, and the Big Bang unfolds when seven quantum mechanical characters have a poker showdown at a Holiday Inn outside of Boston.The artist's array of information comes together with an explosive hybrid vigor full of bright colors and networks of swirling and undulating forms. In some cases, superheroes battle and transform themselves, as seen here in Lucky Break (2000)
One does not need to know all of the particulars or the story behind each work. Ritchie is more interested in conveying what he calls "the pure pleasure of thought." "Basically, I wanted to say, 'Here's a map, now let's go on a journey'It was meant to be a generative structure, designed to produce adventures inside itself, adventures in information."
--Excerpted from L. Herbert, All Systems Go, exhibition catalogue, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 2001, p. 12-13.