Derrick Woods-Morrow's (b.1990) work is a meditation on deviation and disruption, on language and representation - the laborious & the playful. Currently based in Chicago and originally from Greensboro, North Carolina his artistic practice explores black sexual freedoms, the complicated histories concerning access to land and the navigation of the American terrain by black & queer peoples. By deploying a wide variety of media– including photographic material, ceramic sculpture, film, and narrative performance, he attempts to reconcile the painful, personal and shared experiences of existing as black & queer in America. His works asks what it would mean to imagine a past and future where bodies like his own can exist as ‘whole’ —to not perpetually labor merely in order to exist, but to thrive and play; to be renewed.

Woods-Morrow is an emerging artist & previous adjunct assistant professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, who has had film screenings at the Art Institute of Chicago & the Chicago Cultural Center. His work has been shown in the Ground Floor Biennial exhibition at the Hyde Park Arts Center, The BGSQD in New York and as a 2018 Chicago Artadia Awardee, he has exhibited during the EXPO Chicago Art Fair. In 2019 Derrick debuted a new performance , Box of 64: Acts of Boyhood Divination at the MCA Chicago, is creating a film as part of the Day (With) out Art Film commission series with The Visual AIDS Organization, and will be exhibiting new photographs in the 2019 Photography Now Exhibition at the center for Photography Woodstock. He was a participant in the 2016 Fire Island Artist Residency, and concluded his residency with the Chicago Artist Coalition in 2018, culminating in his first solo exhibition in Chicago. His work appears in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, in collaboration with Paul Mpagi Sepuya and his recent works will show in THE 2019 YNCI V: Detroit Art Week Expo, in a solo exhibition, curated by Darryl Terrell.

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Delgado

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Delgado

{sic}...Woods-Morrow poetically gives form to childhood memories, fleeting sexual encounters, and transitory leisure spaces such as beaches and coastlines. Most recently, Woods-Morrow salvaged hundreds of discarded bricks that once formed the foundation of the Washington Memorial in Chicago and began displaying them in stacks and piles in the lineage of Minimalism and Postminimalism. But as in much of his work, a highly personal and intimate dimension was also infused into the project, as the bricks are coated and fired with “stolen” sand from Fire Island, a site of gay tourism where the artist has openly engaged in noncommittal sexual activity—imbuing the brick and mortar foundations of a monument steeped in colonialism with the transitory materiality of sand and the moment of climax.

— – Jordan Carter, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, The Art Institute of Chicago