9 July 2 August 2003
For thirty years from his home in Newtown, Wellington, Ray Ritchie has made paintings, drawings and sculptures, large and small, recycled from whatever material he has on hand. Delighting in visual and verbal puns, exposing the folly of human politics and subverting institutional authority, Rays work captivates audiences of all ages.
Rays first-ever exhibition opened in April 2003 at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery in Wellington City Art Gallery. There it caught the eye of off shore collectors from Australia and the United Kingdom. Visiting folk art expert John Perry commented that Rays work reminds him of Picassos woodcuts and figure drawings, saying that the "vital, highly energised, left-of-centre" exhibition is "equal to anything else on at the Gallery.
Both the Wellington City Art Gallery exhibition, and the later show at Idiom are curated by Stuart Shepherd, who teaches at Massey University Wellingtons School of Art and Design. Stuart came across Rays work while preparing a book on New Zealand self-taught and visionary artists, and has curated several previous such shows at Idiom.
Accompanying the exhibition is an eight-minute video production, The Wonderful World of Ray Ritchie, made by Wellington company Suspect Productions.