x2016.03.20 - x2016.04.10

[…] When I meet a / stranger— / Out of courtesy / I turn on a soft / Pink light / Which is found / modest / Even charming. / It is protection / Against wear / and tears… / And when / I am rid of / The Always-to-be- / Stranger / I turn on my light / And become / myself.

—Florine Stettheimer, Crystal Flowers (1949)


Are you M / F ?

M / F / T ? Or, sometimes, “Other”?

With gender, the selection of a box, the click of A or B, or even a drop down menu of pre-determined options still ignores its fundamental nature: that it is fluid. Dynamic. Variable. Contingent on both external and internal factors. Gradient like the spring sky at six-oh-three on a Thursday in Texas.

But if you were a gender, what color would you be? In an ongoing series of monochrome paintings, a question Chicago-based artist Matt Morris poses is: what if our selections could be made from the color spectrum? What if today you are gender-M(auve) and tomorrow gender-F(uchsia, with flecks of burgundy and rose)? What gender-colors might lie beneath? How many perceivable hues of multitudes do you contain?

The titles of these densely layered and accumulated paintings, all of a modest size and similar in scale, offer hints at subversive undercurrents and the artist’s clear adoration of the queer in pop culture. These are tongue-on-cheek, multi-referential tomes on identity: Fagnes Martin. Other Otter. Stacy Layne Matthews, Gender Warrior. As shimmering and ethereal as the hint of a cool oasis in a desert mirage, the white/pink/lilac spectrum of multi-layered surfaces of oil paint invites an extended engagement, and solicits a sensitive kind of looking.

Flirting with identity politics more obliquely, the paintings of Dallas-based artist Michelle Rawlings are charmingly idiosyncratic. Canvases range in scale and subject matter from abstract monochromes to tightly rendered book covers, languid figuration or colorful grids. Honing in on millennial femininity, Rawlings presents her own identity as layered, ever-changing, filled to the brim with referents.

Grounded in a late nineteenth century painterly and philosophical aesthetic, Rawlings culls from wildly varied moments, objects, and images in our cultural history to reinforce the digitized abstraction of the present day. Instead of imbuing power into one singular abstract painting, Rawlings’ work displays its strength in the multitude. Referencing early twentieth-century Orphism, and an interest in the vibratory effect of two contrasting colors placed next to one another, Rawlings’ paintings are meant to be taken as a whole: studies in seemingly disparate contrasts vibrating next to one another. 

Please join Permanent.Collection for the opening reception on Sunday, March 20th from 3-6pm. Write to permanentcollectiongallery@gmail.com for directions. 

A lecture and discussion with Austin-based scholar Allison Myers will take place as the closing reception on Sunday, April 10th, at 4 o’clock. Allison Myers is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, currently writing a dissertation on French conceptual art and its reception in the United States during the 1970s. She is also an editor for the Austin-based publishing collective Pastelegram.



Born = Baton Rouge, Louisiana (1985)

Lives = Chicago, Illinois 

MFA = Northwestern University, Art Theory + Practice (2013)

Certificate = Northwestern University, Gender + Sexuality Studies (2013)

BFA = Art Academy of Cincinnati (2007)

See More = http://www.mattmorrisworks.com/



Born = Dallas, Texas (1980)

Lives = Dallas, Texas

MFA = Rhode Island School of Design, Painting (2012)

Certificate = School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Post-Baccalaureate (2006) 

BA = Pepperdine University (2003) 

See More = http://michellerawlings.com/