Matthew Morrocco’s exhibition Orchid: RGB is, at its heart, about photography itself. To take a picture, two things need to exist: light, which is seen with the naked eye as an image of colors, and secondly, a way to convey the image. This basic communicative act, the transmission of color, is fundamental to the artist’s new series of works, which revolve around “Orchid,” a nameless, genderless figure posing in various landscapes of abstract RGB color fields. They are a nod to both Ellsworth Kelly, a Color Field painter who pioneered shaped, monochrome canvases, and the RGB color system, a standardized method of mixing colored light for digital display.
What’s notable here is that portraiture is typically about seeing someone, but in Morrocco’s images, there’s no one to be seen. Rather, it’s a generalized queer subject, hiding in plain sight; a full body suit obscures everything, including the face. Made colorful and formal, Orchid strikes classical poses or holds up mirrors as if playing a cheeky game of hide-and-seek, in which identification never wins. Sometimes the camera takes center stage, framed in the center of an image, like the dancing video camera in Dziga Vertov’s The Man With the Movie Camera (1929) before it comes fully to life. Here, however, the focus is not on the camera per se, but the iPhones, iPads, and other devices that have largely replaced it, and that increasingly filter our real-time experiences.
Orchid: RGB is the first in a series of exhibitions about light, color, and time that Matthew Morrocco that will present over the course of 2018-2019. Crush Curatorial will host the second iteration of this project, called Orchid, Seasons, in September 2018.
Matthew Morrocco (b. 1989, Providence, RI) received a BA in Critical Theory and Photography from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2012 and an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University in 2015. His work has received grant support from the New York Foundation of the Arts, a blade of grass, NYU, and Columbia University. Recent exhibitions include Medium of Desire at the Leslie Lohman Museum and Complicit at NYU’s Gallatin Gallery. His book, Complicit, will be published in September 2018 with Matte Editions.