New Zealand, 1941–
Still Life With Mullet 1987
oil on canvas, 815 x 672 mm
Collection of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū: purchased from the Goodman-Suter Biennale 1988 with the Goodman-Suter Fund. ACC: 796
This painting is a conundrum. It’s a painting within a painting, but with a very peculiar fish that is out of proportion with either scene. Ritchie has used trompe l’oeil (trick-of-the-eye) so that the mullet appears to be sitting on top of the whole painting, although the shadow could just apply to the fish hanging out from the painting on the wall. How does the fish stay vertical when there is nothing holding it upright?
Ross Ritchie is one of New Zealand’s leading post-modern artists. Although he is a figurative artist, his work often focuses on the surface on the painting. As in Still Life with Mullet, his paintings often use illusion and ambiguity.