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January 7, 2005

UMBC's Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery presents

Charles Ritchie imageUMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery presents Suburban Journals: The Sketchbooks, Drawings and Prints of Charles Ritchie, on display from January 31 through March 26, 2005.

On Thursday, February 3 at 4:30 pm, the Gallery will host an artist’s lecture, Private Astronomies, by Charles Ritchie, followed by a reception.

About the Artist
Since 1978, contemporary Maryland artist Charles Ritchie (American, born 1954) has filled intimate journals with written notations and watercolor studies exploring subjects drawn primarily from his suburban home. Dating from 1983 to the present, the sketchbooks, drawings, and prints in the exhibition trace Ritchie’s creations from journal conceptions as watercolor and pen and ink studies, through independent sheets in various drawing media, to a range of possibilities as prints. Over fifty works are arranged into three thematic sections: still lifes, landscapes, and self-portraits.

In a recent review in the magazine Art on Paper, writer and critic Faye Hirsch observed, “Ritchie’s very ordinary suburban house and yard are becoming, in the hands of this artist, a subject as loaded with expressive potential as the most sublime landscape.” Suburban Journals highlights the process by which the artist translates moments of inspiration into abstracted accumulations of events and experiences from everyday life. For example, the earliest image in the exhibition is a journal study for Rocking Chair in black watercolor from 1983. This was the basis for a drawing of the same year done in watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink. When Rocking Chair was translated into a mezzotint print thirteen years later, the artist eliminated almost all detail to accentuate spare, luminous elements isolated against an inky background.

Charles Ritchie imageWorking primarily in black and white, Ritchie places emphasis on dark and light contrasts. Shadows engulf his compositions, obscuring details and evoking a sense of subtle drama. The artist states, “The pictures begin with the scene but aim to move deeper. Over years of scrutiny, my subjects have accrued greater meaning and mystery for me.” In each of the small-scale works, Ritchie invites the viewer to participate in an intimate scene from his environment, and in this exhibition to understand the process from which it results.

Charles Ritchie received his B.F.A. from the University of Georgia, Athens, in 1977, and his M.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh in 1980. His awards include the Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2004, 2002, and 1998, the MacDowell Colony Fellowship in 1999, and the Individual Artist Fellowship from the Arts Council of Montgomery County, Maryland. Ritchie’s artwork has been featured in numerous exhibitions, and his work is in many public collections including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums; and the University of Richmond Museums.

Gallery Information
The Albin O. Kuhn Gallery serves as one of the principal art galleries in the Baltimore region. Items from the Special Collections Department, as well as art and artifacts from all over the world, are displayed in challenging and informative exhibitions for the University community and the public. Moreover, traveling exhibitions are occasionally presented, and the Gallery also sends some of its exhibits throughout the state and nation. Admission to the Gallery is free.

Charles Ritchie image

Organized and circulated by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition was curated by Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums, in collaboration with the artist. It is made possible in part with the generous support of the University’s Cultural Affairs Committee and funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund. Published by the University of Richmond Museums, an illustrated exhibition catalogue with essays by Marjorie Cohn, Peter Turchi, and the artist is available.

The presentation of Suburban Journals at UMBC is made possible by the Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences, the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Friends of the Library & Gallery. Funding support for the artist, and for additional work to the exhibition, has been provided by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Maryland, the Franz and Virginia Bader Fund and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Charles Ritchie imageHours of Operation
Sunday: Closed
Monday: 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Thursday: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday: 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

General Gallery information: 410-455-2270
UMBC Artsline (24 hour recorded message): 410-455-ARTS
Media inquiries only: 410-455-3370

UMBC Arts website:
Gallery website:
UMBC Arts News Releases:

Images for Media
High resolution images for media are available online: or by email or postal mail. The images in this release and others are available at 300 dpi on high resolution image website.


  • From Baltimore and points north, proceed south on I-95 to exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Albin O. Kuhn Library.
  • From I-695, take Exit 12C (Wilkens Avenue) and continue one-half mile to the entrance of UMBC at the intersection of Wilkens Avenue and Hilltop Road. Turn left and follow signs to the Albin O. Kuhn Library.
  • From Washington and points south, proceed north on I-95 to Exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Albin O. Kuhn Library.
  • Daytime metered visitor parking is available in the Walker Avenue Garage. Visitor parking regulations are enforced on all University calendar days. Hilltop Circle and all campus roadways require a parking permit unless otherwise marked.
  • Online campus map:

Charles Ritchie image


Posted by dwinds1 at January 7, 2005 12:00 AM