The Women (Grete Stern. Sueños de Ajedrez (No. 109), for Idilio Magazine, 1948)
Part of a series entitled The Women, this painting is based on a photograph by Grete Stern, a queer bisexual photographer from Berlin, active in the 1930s. A dreamlike scenario featuring a woman on a chessboard forces the grid to become an active narrative device, placing Morris' work in conversation with both the gridded fields of Sherrie Levine and the Duchampian characterization of painting as a game of chess.
Without any clear sign of who today lays claim to the historical trappings of the feminine (the ribbons, powder puffs, boudoirs, assumed fragility, demureness, submissiveness, seductiveness, deception, harlotry, drag), Matt Morris brings these cultural and psychological artifacts to his paintings. In this space, psychoanalyzing takes place via the cosmetic. A ribbon, for instance, carries with it the history of misogyny and frivolity. His navigation of these formal and physical qualities is a method for kickstarting both autobiographical and collective memory work.
Painting is made on linen stretched over alupanel with wooden cradle. A set of four cleats is used to install work flush to wall. Thick impasto is present over entire surface of painting with strategic areas of raw linen still visible on surface, namely around appliqué segments.
Matt Morris is an artist, perfumer, and writer who follows Freud’s “reproduction of certain scenes” to engage in processes of recollection and excavation from repressed memory. Artistically, he paints with a melancholy that reflects on the production of liberation ideologies, and his work tracks signifiers with labels like feminine, femme, effeminate, effete, and faggot that pervade the history of art, advertising, fashion, pornography, and other zones of visual culture.
Matt Morris is originally from Southern Louisiana and currently lives in Chicago, IL. He earned his BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH (2007), his MFA in Art Theory + Practice with a certificate in Gender + Sexuality Studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (2013), and his certification in Fairyology from Doreen Virtue, PhD (2017). Morris is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
He has recently presented his art in group and solo shows at Tiger Strikes Asteroid in Brooklyn, NY; Andrew Kreps in New York City, NY; RUSCHMAN in Berlin, Germany; Netwerk Aalst in Aalst, Belgium; Krabbesholm Højskole in Skive, Denmark; and The Suburban in Milwaukee, WI, among others.
As a writer, Morris contributes to Artforum.com, Art Papers, ARTnews, Flash Art, Fragrantica, Sculpture, The Seen, and X-TRA.
Part of a series entitled "The Women," this painting is based on a photograph by Grete Stern, a queer bisexual photographer from Berlin, active in the 1930s. This work's dreamlike scenario featuring a woman on a chessboard forces the grid to become an active narrative device.More