Opening Reception: ORCHID.Spring by Matthew Morrocco
Time & Location
About the Event
Gallerie B.B. and The Olympia Project are pleased to present ORCHID.Spring, a new body of work by artist Matthew Morrocco, curated by Sophie Olympia Riese. We are thrilled to host our opening as part of the Art District on Santa Fe's Third Friday Collector's Night.
This work explores the interrelationship between the human and natural worlds. In each photograph, a purple figure--the artist himself dressed in a full-color bodysuit--poses within an enormous cluster of blooming Sakura trees. Morrocco tries to merge his body with the landscape, bending his arms to mimic the drape of a tree branch or, in one image, only half-emerging from a burst of sakura blossoms. Looking at these photographs, the viewer finds herself haunted by a familiar uneasiness. The centrality of Morrocco to every composition, the way his hiding only draws the viewer’s attention, captures how human beings have remade the earth in their own anthropocentric image. We live in a time in which we increasingly realize how the natural world--even its most remote corners, whether the deep sea or the rainforest--has been forever altered by human actions. Even natural spaces that appear untouched have often sustained heavy contact with the human--supposedly authentic experiences with “nature” have, more often than not, been extensively curated and anthropocentrized before the arrival of the newest human individual. Embodying this reality, Morrocco’s anonymous figure--mostly stripped of, age, race, and almost all of the categories central to human identity--filters the eye away from the breath-taking Sakura trees. At first, locating and studying the figure at the center of the images elicits pleasure--on second and third viewings, he begins to feel inescapable.
Spring shows the Sakura trees at a point in their lifecycle when they are most vulnerable and yet the most triumphant--they burst forth with unrepentant candor. While it may seem as though these trees are hardy, their presence is actually very delicate. The trees only bloom for a few weeks before the petals fall from the trees and decay on the ground. But in that time, bees work to pollinate the blossoms, which in turn creates more trees, more flowers, and more visual delight. As opposed to the sustainable cycle of the Sakura trees, human industry and cultivation have already pushed global warming beyond the threshold of no return, the US has pulled out of the Paris Agreement, and yet still, somehow, the environmental crisis is not the center of our attention. In making images that model the problematic centrality of the human in even the most serene natural spaces, this project seeks to bring the problematic anthropocentrism to the fore--the desire to see the Sakura trees without the omnipresent purple figure catalyzes our better impulses toward a more intimate coexistence.
This series forms one part of a larger body of work, ORCHID.Seasons, that will explore this concept across different landscapes and seasons.
This is the artist's first show with this curator, and with the gallery.