Nathan Ritterpusch - A curatorial statement

March 3, 2023
Nathan Ritterpusch, Try Asking Someone Who Cares #4, 2022
Nathan Ritterpusch, Try Asking Someone Who Cares #4, 2022


Frivolous looks, distorted faces, and hybrid creatures - the solo exhibition of Nathan Ritterpusch (USA) shows a collection of portraits and acts in different situations. The contrasting characters and portraits create a congruence of feelings, and memories. Different anatomical elements merged into dimorphic figures, invites the viewer to self-reflection, as if the portraits were mirrors. 

Ritterpusch's references for these paintings range from beautiful old Greek statues and cowboys, that symbolize a past masculinity and beauty ideal of a man, to highly seductive half-naked women, which may also depict bygone beauty standards. 


In some of his works, Ritterpusch depicts feminine figures, that evoke more than sexuality, and carnal attraction. The artist explores the complexity of the multi-faceted and multilayered human personality - viewing these portraits, and analyzing these acts, one may be put in an inconvenient position, dealing with complex feelings. Ritterpusch is drawn to subjects that are paradoxically both vulnerable and assertive and inspects the ways in which they are perceived by the viewers.  

The paintings let us develop a personal, intimate connection with the depicted figure, allowing us to reflect on our own feelings. It is about a game of offensiveness and attraction, about individual repression, and borderless desire. Not the feelings that are carved into the faces of the depicted are important, but the game of feelings which the viewers experiment as they explore the works. Thus arises a duality between fleshiness and spirit, self-reflection, and objectiveness. 

There are also hidden messages to be discovered behind the titles: from "Try Asking Someone Who Cares" to "Most Of Me Is All I Have To Give" – is this pure irony or pure sincerity?   


The exhibition title might remind us of classic jokes, that start with the famous quote " A guy walks into a bar...", where various people are put in the most unpleasant and ironic situations. We are not far from that - by bringing these characters together in one room, the viewer is put in a situation that can be compared to it. Entering a diner, one takes a seat at the counter among strangers, with whom mostly, just for a few minutes, one enters a short - almost forced - relationship. To such people you can tell everything - you will not be judged.  


This is the analogy that visitors of this exhibition can relate to: the most intimate and perhaps most daring thoughts that arise when looking at these pictures remain a secret between the viewer and the person depicted. 


So, would you "meet me at Marcel's"? The artist is definitely present. 


Text by Cezara-Maria Casian