Reyes │ Finn presents 'Leif Ritchey: Waves'
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Reyes │ Finn presents 'Leif Ritchey: Waves'
Leif Ritchey, Residue, 2021-2022. Concrete, paint, plastic bowl, paint cans and lids, banana peel, tinted lens. 25 x 6 x 6 in. Photo: Tim Johnson. Courtesy: the artist and Reyes | Finn, Detroit.

DETROIT, MICH.- Reyes | Finn is presenting Waves, a solo exhibition of new work by multidisciplinary artist Leif Ritchey (b. 1975, Ann Arbor, MI), on view from October 27th–December 17th. For the artist’s first showcase with Reyes | Finn, Ritchey debuts eight new large-scale paintings and a series of nine found-object assemblage sculptures and wall-hanging works.

Over the past two decades, the artist has forged his signature out of his explorations of color and its intertwining with form, his unmistakable pastel hues sprawling across canvases textured with delicate layers of fabric, paper and paint. Waves builds on this foundation, Ritchey’s cross-disciplinary approach assembling mediums and techniques used by the artist at various points throughout his career into a holistic body of work. In it, “colors and forms find alchemy unknown”, as the artist wrote in a 2010 poem. A sense of temporal progression is the propulsive mechanism throughout, resulting in a series that appears as if it was created by a natural force.

From one painting to the next, the blur of colors gains a shadowy density, interrupted by rigid geometric forms which sit within like an object left in the sand by a wave receding from the shore. The dimensional applications of textile and paper to the canvases enhance the effect of this growing density and serve as a bridge to the sculptural pieces on view.

The sculptures are constructed of discernible elements, which together create the appearance of singular structures, as if conceived to exist in this form. A dried up banana peel mounts a pillar of paint cans and lids balancing on top of a plastic bowl placed on a concrete base; a wooden stick indents a red brick, both of them resting on a dog-eared magazine, a slick image of a Rolex watch peeking out from under a thick layer of white paint; the translucence of a green cellophane bag reveals the receipts, cards and other scraps with which it is stuffed, bright against the matte background of a black shopping bag. In this part of the exhibition, Ritchey’s facility for layering takes on a further breadth of dimension with each of the objects he chooses to combine, becoming portrayals of amalgamated time, fossils of existence and consumption, imbued with tender humanistic irony.

Leif Ritchey’s artistic practices span visual art, music and fashion. Ritchey began working in New York in the early 2000s, he is part of a generation of artists whose output was defined by its commitment to a permissive multidisciplinary methodology. He and his wife are co-founders of Leif & Tooya, a fashion line which erased the boundaries between art, design and craft. This homespun ethos carried over into the concurrent work Ritchey produced as a visual artist. After Leif & Tooya closed in 2009, Ritchey deepened his focus on visual art, showing his work in solo exhibitions in several prestigious galleries. Today, the artist lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and works between Ann Arbor and Detroit.

A closing celebration for Waves will be held on Saturday, December 17th featuring Ritchey’s band Shades — in which he plays together with his father — accompanied by other musical guests and friends.

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