Hinterland, a small gallery on the north side of Denver, presents a one of a kind exhibition of two remarkable artists – Mark E. Ritchie and Bailey Russel, which opened November 17. The two artists met while teaching at the University of Wyoming. They became friends and decided to showcase their works together. Ritchie is a professor of printmaking, while Russel teaches photography. We will catch up with Russel next week, but for now, it’s Ritchie who has our attention.
Ritchie’s printmaking draws on ancient traditions of Asia and the Middle East, which inspire him. With this exhibition, Ritchie presents his recent works of intaglio and lithographic prints. Lithography is a printing process of etching on a flat stone, covering it with wax, and applying inks on top of it. The image is then copied onto a paper. This traditional technique, used by artists for centuries, produces inimitable results and achieves a prominent look. Ritchie makes images by drawing on both sides of waxed paper.
The images in this body of work depict horses. Because of their grace and long history of relationships with humans, horses also have a strong symbolical meaning. They are often associated with beauty, supremacy and dignity. As Ritchie puts it, “The image of the horse is powerful and ancient, and it is wild, domestic and feral.” Through the duality of representation and symbolism, the affective and the objective is evident in his works.
This is not the first time Ritchie depicts animals; he often uses them as subjects for his narratives. He employs subjects that are full of symbolism in every culture. The fact that he combines such an ancient technique with strong symbolism to produce his art makes these works that much more special and positively old-fashioned.
Hurry to see these fascinating works of art because the exhibit closes on December 7.