Friday April 3  – Sunday May 31 2009

Charles Ritchie

Charles Ritchie's drawings are almost all done in and around his home, drawings that show Ritchie to be the consummate student of light. For Ritchie, an associate curator of prints and drawings at the National Gallery in Washington, the home is the frame, the canvas, the subject and the set. Yet while his ability to catch the movement of light as it transforms materials an space is alchemical, but it is his skill at recording the true emotion of a scene as opposed to a simple romance of light.


On the one hand, the framing mechanism of working almost exclusively from inside his home, and often from the same table, forces Ritchie into a level of observation and patience than a more furtive relationship to scene and subject would produce.  Like Morandi, the exhaustive, time-crushing ritual of drawing the same space in an infinite series of drawings results in the slow but steady emergence of a kind of ur-drawing, a meta-Ritchie formed from the mixing of all the daily instances.  On the other hand, sitting safely inside the home, looking out, remaining behind the doors and windows of the domos, also serves as a kind of monastic conceit, giving the refuge needed for unimpeded, undetected observation of the world outside.