Derrick Woods-Morrow’s performance, Pleasure Synthesis: Nomenclatures of Ecstasy invites audiences to consider a radically liberatory proposition: what does pleasure without labour look like? When was the last time you experienced this sensation? What did it feel like? A deeply intimate and moving exchange then takes place between objects in the space, the audience, and the artist, centred on ideas of death, loss, love, sex, labour, and pleasure. Recounting his own sexual experiences, Woods-Morrow ruminates on both the potential for the body to give and receive love and pleasure, and on the shame, violence, and labour forced on Queer Black fol(x). In both this performance and his sculpture, How do we memorialize an event that is still happening?, exhibited in Open Structure, Woods-Morrow uses  worn mattresses as stand-ins for the body, requiems for dreams unfulfilled, quiet containers that carry our energy through some of the most intimate and transformative human acts: metaphorical resting places, the vessels that hold us when we are born, when we sleep, when we dream, when we have sex, as we sweat, and often, ultimately, when we die.

Derrick Woods-Morrow centers process-oriented collaborative projects with Queer Black Fol(x) across a wide variety of media. His work has been presented across the United States including at the 2019 Whitney Biennial (in collaboration with Paul Mpagi Sepuya), The Contemporary Art Center (New Orleans) the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Smart Museum (Chicago) and internationally, in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany. Woods-Morrow is a member of the Chicago-based collective concerned Black imagemakers and serves on the Board of Directors of the Fire Island Artist Residency.  He holds an MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago and completed a Post- Baccalaureate at the Massachusetts College of Art Design. He was  a resident of the Skowhegan School of Painting  in 2022, a  2021 Bemis Centre Artist-in-residence, a 2018 Chicago Artist Coalition Resident, and is Assistant Professor of Sculpture, Painting & Textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design where he holds a Schiller Family Assistant Professorship in Race and Design. Originally from Greensboro, NC, he splits his time between Chicago and Rhode Island.

In conjunction with School of Art Gallery exhibition Open Structure.

School of Art Gallery
255 ARTlab
180 Dafoe Road
Winnipeg, MB, R3T2N2

The School of Art Gallery, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is generously supported by the University of Manitoba, the School of Art, and the Government of Canada, and by faculty, staff, donors, and volunteers. It sits on Treaty 1 territory, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. 

Open Structure is presented as part of the School of Art Gallery’s Visiting Curator Program, generously supported by Michael F.B. Nesbitt. Special thanks to Mother Earth Recycling for their assistance with the presentation of Open Structure.