Remanence: Salt and Light (Part II), 2013

Matthew Ritchie

  • Utilizing the elements of line and abstraction, this work seeks to make concrete the vast network of hidden forces and information that surrounds us. The image depicts an information ecology where ideas or atoms of thoughts rise and fall between a sea of undifferentiated lines and an architecture of higher concepts.

    The title,¬†Remanence, Salt and Light¬†evokes both science and scripture, Boston’s past and its present. “Remanence” is a term for the trace memory left in magnetic materials; here it simultaneously evokes the concepts of memory, remnant and resonance. “Salt and Light” refers to John Winthrop, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who, on the deck of the Arabella quoted the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-16) to the new settlers. Winthrop called for Boston to become a “City on a Hill”, whose light cannot be hidden, and to waste not the salt (or flavor) of life. Quoted by politicians of every party, this famous comparison has itself become a “remanence” of an idea.

    Mural painted by: Matthew Ritchie, Tricia O’Neill, Steve Brettler, Noella Cotnam, Christine LaLonde, Nelson Licona and Liam McAlpin.

  • Matthew Ritchie is an interdisciplinary artist interested in universal systems- or systems that purport to be universal- such as cosmologies, religions, string theory, quantum physics and gambling odds. Using these systems as starting points for his practice, Ritchie constructs worlds in and about which to make art. His Approach seeks to explore the present through visual art the complexities of any effort to represent the many levels of experience and reality. The mural was one component of an extensive, interdisciplinary project by Matthew Ritchie at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston.