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It's The Last Week Of The Ray Ritchie Exhibition

It's The Last Week Of The First Exhibition Ever Ray Ritchie

11 April - 11 May 2003 Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington

"...if you join an art club, odds are they expect you to do it their way. That's a guess, but I think there's some validity to it. And this way when you are on your own bit of dirt, you can do exactly what you want to do." -Ray Ritchie

The vibrant, whimsical work of local self-taught artist Ray Ritchie has caught the attention of international collectors - come to City Gallery Wellington during the last week of the exhibition and see for yourself what all the talk is about. The First Exhibition Ever, curated by Stuart Shepherd, who came across Ray's work as part of a survey of self-taught and visionary artists, ends on Sunday 11th May.

For thirty years from his home in Newtown 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, Ray's work captivates audiences of all ages. "The highly localised and personal nature of the work (like overhearing someone's inner dialogue) seems to be something that people are moved by," says Shepherd.

Visiting folk art expert John Perry has commented that Ray's work reminds him of Picasso's wood cuts and figure drawings saying that the "vital, highly energised, left-of-centre" exhibition is "equal to anything else on at the Gallery. Lets have more of it!" These might seem like bold claims but he is not alone in his praise of this humble Newtown artist.

The Michael Hirschfeld Gallery show has also impressed serious local gallerists and dealers, and has caught the eye of off shore collectors from Australia and the United Kingdom who have contacted the curator.

Following the exhibition at City Gallery Wellington, Idiom Studio will hold a solo exhibition of Ray Ritchie's work from Wednesday 9 July to Saturday 2 August, for people interested in buying his work. Also curated by Stuart Shepherd, the exhibition will include a many of works in the current show, plus a number of extra pieces.

Stuart Shepherd will talk about Ray's work and New Zealand visionary and self-taught artists on Tuesday 6th May, City Cinema, City Gallery Wellington at 6pm. This is a free public talk. Also check out The Wonderful World of Ray Ritchie at:

For more information, images and interview inquiries please contact Anna Davidson, Publicist T: 04 801 3959 / E:

Ray Ritchie - The First Exhibition Ever is presented within the 360 programme - a full perspective on Wellington Art, which is generously sponsored by Designworks, Workshop DIY Framing and Suspect Productions and supported by Montana Wines Ltd. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding from the Wellington City Council. Events principal sponsor: Montana Wines Ltd. ENDS

Julian Dashper - Blue Circles (15 March - 27 April 2003) Peter Black - Real Fiction (23 March - 29 June 2003) Simryn Gill - A Small Town at the Turn of the Century (15 March - 29 June 2003) New Zealand Venice Biennale Project 2001 (23 March - 29 June 2003) The First Exhibition Ever - Ray Ritchie (11 April - 11 May 2003)

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