February: Grids and Other Erotica with Matt Morris
Saturday, February 23
Opening reception: 5 pm
Artist talk: 5:30 pm
“I came up dripping and panting from the pool to the changing-room. I heard the hiss of the crowded showers, and felt the warm, dense atmosphere of the place in my throat and on my skin. I sauntered along between the two files of hot jets whose spray danced up off the black tiles, shifting or suddenly cutting off as the men, naked or in their trunks, edged about, soaped a foot raised against the wall, gave their stomachs resounding smacks, or turned, as the door to the outside world thwacked open, to see what beauty arrived. There is a paradoxical strength in display; the naked person always has the social advantage over the clothed one (though the naked person can forget this, as innumerable farces show), and under the shower I was reckless.”
-Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming-Pool Library
In this exhibition, Matt Morris presents recent works on paper and sculptures. The form of the grid is traceable through all of the included elements, including works on large sheets of archival tissue where approximate grids are dotted out in iridescent pigment on the whit sheets. Elsewhere, a large digital print is composed of rows of small thumbnail images, sets of which were culled from Morris’ ongoing web project hosted by tumblr. Post-minimalist art, pornography, cultural icons, drag queens and other digital ephemera are tiled across the page. Accompanying these works on paper, Morris presents a selection of objects, some found and unaltered, while others are crafted from folded paper, polymer clay or wrapped string. This exhibition considers the grid as an ordering device, used in architecture, city planning, modernist art and elsewhere as a means of regulation. Each work, however, lies at the intersection between such issues of control and the excessive, erotic presence of the body, resistant to being fully organized into such systems. Imperfect rows of dots, objects that may only relate to one another through superficial formal traits, and images of men bathing and rough housing in group showers all point to the impossibility of full assimilation and conformity, but also the possibilities of pleasure and perversion found in the attempt.
“It is not just that bodies are directed in specific ways, but that the world is shaped by the directions taken by some bodies more than others. To make things queer is certainly to disturb the order of things.”
-Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology
About Matt Morris
Matt Morris is an artist and writer based in Chicago, IL. He is a transplant from southern Louisiana and holds a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He has presented work in Chicago, IL; Reims, France; Cincinnati, OH; San Antonio, TX; and Baton Rouge, LA. His writing has appeared in regional and international publications, including Art Papers, Sculpture, City Beat (Cincinnati, OH), Alice Blue Review, and Aeqai, as well as numerous exhibition catalogues and artist monographs. Through photography, installation and other interventions into space, Morris articulates the cultural positionality of the queer political subject within imbricated systems of control.