Matthew Ritchie was born in London, England in 1964. He received his BFA from Camberwell College of Arts in London in 1986. Upon his move to New York in 1989, he worked as a building superintendent until he had his first solo exhibition at Basilico Fine Arts in New York in 1995. For the exhibition, he created Working Model (1995), a chart of seven categories of seven characteristics with corresponding attributes, shapes, and colors, which he still utilizes to formulate his pieces. Through his paintings and installations, Ritchie explores how to express systems of information in visual form. His charged, volatile images, which seem in the constant process of dynamic morphing, explore theories on the creation of the universe and its ongoing evolution. In installations like The Fast Set (2000), shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, his images explode from the canvas, encompassing entire walls and cascading across the gallery floor. In Games of Chance and Skill (2002), a permanent installation commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ritchie's works sprawl across three different surfaces habitually employed by the artist: opaque wall, translucent light panel, and transparent windows. In recent work, Ritchie has begun to integrate sculptural elements into his pieces. His multi-part installation The Hierarchy Problem (2003) incorporates a black latticework structure suspended above a colorful floor piece and flanked by a light box and wall drawing. The Morning Line (2008), applies the latticework to a pair of tetrahedral architectural elements, whose structure is built on a drawing expanded to three-dimensional space and which contains an interactive, infinitely variable music soundtrack that responds to the viewer. Ritchie, who frequently collaborates with specialists in divergent fields, in this case worked with a team of architects, scientists, musicians, and programmers to realize the project.
Solo exhibitions of Ritchie's work have been organized by Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (1999), White Cube in London (2000 and 2008), Dallas Museum of Art (2000–01), Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston (2003), MASS MoCA (2004), Portikus in Frankfurt (2005), and Saint Louis Art Museum (2007). His work has also been included in major group exhibitions such as New Work: Drawings Today at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1996), Whitney Biennial (1997), Hypermental at Kunsthaus Zürich (2000), Sydney Biennial (2002), São Paulo Bienal (2004), Shapes of Space at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2007), Venice Architecture Biennial (2008), and The Guggenheim Collection at Guggenheim Bilbao (2008–09). Ritchie also created Web site projects for the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis (1996) and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco (2001). Ritchie lives and works in New York.