Edwynn Houk Gallery is delighted to announce the exclusive representation of Abelardo Morell (American, b Havana 1948), whose pictures transform and transcend the ordinary and everyday. Morell has been the subject of a major retrospective exhibition, “The Universe Next Door,” which started at the Art Institute of Chicago in June of 2013, toured to the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and ended at the High Museum in Atlanta in May of 2014. Morell’s first exhibition at Houk Gallery was at the Zürich space in June of 2013.
Always intrigued with optics and how an image is constructed, Morell began his photographic career within the most steadfast of genres, the still life. His pared down images focused resolutely on simple, everyday items: a glass bottle, a page within a book, a child’s toy. In 1991, Morell, wanting to illustrate to his students the basic tenet of photography – light passing through an aperture and its projected image – stumbled upon what proved to be a turning point; Morell realized with his image “Light Bulb,” that any room, any space can be turned into a camera. Renowned for his camera obscura works, Morell has over the years perfected the technique and continues to use what is fundamentally one of the oldest, most primitive ways to make an image.
The passage of time and capturing it in a photograph has long fascinated Morell. In the beginning, his camera obscura photographs required exposures of several hours, but now with digital technology, it is much faster. He is able to show specific times of day in single images, moments can be pinpointed instead of hours passing.
Morell deftly balances a philosophical approach with a scientific rigor, and honoring a Modernist tradition, he continues to experiment, creating collages, cliché verre on glass, and for his camera obscura works, adapting a tent so that he can take the images outdoors. The effects of these images hark back to Impressionist painting where famous vistas are juxtaposed with unexpected, nontraditional surfaces, a marriage of two outdoor realities.
Morell lives and works in Boston. He studied at Bowdoin College and holds an MFA from Yale University, and an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin. In 1993, he was the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Until 2009, he was a professor of photography at Massachusetts College of Art. Morell was the subject of a documentary film, “Shadow of the House,” in 2007. There are numerous publications and monographs on his work, including his illustration of Alice in Wonderland and ‘Book of Books,’ with an introduction by author Nicholson Baker. He was the recipient of the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award in 2011. His work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fondation Cartier, Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Morell is the The Lucie Awards 2017 Honoree for Achievement in Fine Art.
Bringing together more than 80 pictures taken by photographers from the 19th century to today, (un)expected families at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), explores the definition of the American family—from the families we’re born into to the ones we’ve chosen. The photographs in the exhibition, on view from December 9, 2017 through June 17, 2018, depict a wide range of relationships—multiple generations, romantic unions and alternative family structures—whether connected by DNA, shared life experiences, common interests or even a social media network. Drawn primarily from the MFA’s holdings, the exhibition includes photographs by celebrated artists such as Nan Goldin, Gordon Parks, Nicholas Nixon, Sally Mann, Diane Arbus, Tina Barney, Emmet Gowin and Bruce Davidson. Photograph: Andrea Shea/WBUR.
The Denver Art Museum (DAM) proudly presents Challenging Terrain: Landscape Photography in the 21st Century, a survey of contemporary landscape photography from around the world. The exhibition of more than 80 photographs will gauge how living artists stretch the boundaries of traditional landscape photography to reflect the environmental attitudes, perceptions and values of our time. The works in Challenging Terrain will depict landscapes in unexpected ways, challenging visitors to see photography differently. Organized by the DAM and curated by Eric Paddock, curator of photography, Challenging Terrain will be on view June 24, 2018 to Sept. 16, 2018.
Works by well-known artists, including Cuban-American photographer Abelardo Morell, will be featured in the exhibition. His works focus on iconic views of America’s national parks made famous by previous generations of photographers, such as Ansel Adams. Morell’s process, rooted in photo history, uses a tent camera to project an image onto the ground that he then photographs digitally, resulting in familiar, yet unexpected works.
Artist Abelardo Morell reimagines scenery by turning entire rooms into camera obscuras—effectively merging interior and exterior spaces—and then photographing the results. He discusses how he developed this peculiar practice over time, and how he has found fulfillment infusing everyday environments with new enchantment.
Abelardo Morell’s camera-obscura view inside an attic, and of the sea brought in, is an emotionally accurate correlative for aspects of [To the Lighthouse's chapter] “Time Passes,” and I always think of it when I read the book. Though Woolf ’s fictional house is furnished and Morell’s attic is not, both writer and photographer show how nature reenters our carefully protected spaces (in Morell’s case by a tiny aperture and long exposure, and rendered upside down), restoring to the temporal the timeless.
The Lucie Awards is the premiere annual event honoring the greatest achievements in photography. Each year, the Lucie Advisory Board nominates the most outstanding photographers across a variety of categories. Abe Morell is the 2017 Honoree in the Achievement in Fine Art category. He will be honored with the award on October 29, 2017.
Where once visitors to the Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan would see the gilded names of its wealthy founders, there is now a grid of well-worn books, each representing one of Henry David Thoreau’s journals that he kept for 24 years in the 19th century. This photographic collage by artist Abelardo Morell was donated in honor of the Morgan security guards, recognizing their sometimes unsung role at the museum.
In 1979, before he gained recognition for his photography, Abelardo Morell worked the night shift as a security guard for the Morgan Library & Museum. Now, Mr. Morell has donated a new work of art to the museum to honor its security staff. “Thoreau: 40 Journals in Chronological Order” will be on display at the Morgan from Tuesday through Sept. 10. as part of “This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal,” which traces Henry David Thoreau’s life through notebooks and other artifacts.
GATHER THE FLOWER GIRLS
On a tiny farm in Washington State, one woman’s floral workshops have become something of a sensation.
By Cathy Horyn
Photographs by Abelardo Morell
The displays have great contrapuntal rhythms, between past and present, between color and black-and-white, and among sensibilities guided by burning social consciences, the drive to experiment or a joyful embrace of the medium’s idiosyncratic possibilities. Sometimes all of this can be found in one eclectic presentation. At Edwynn Houk, one of Robert Frank’s insightful images of Americans shares walls with Lillian Bassman’s innovative fashion photography and Abelardo Morell’s playful new still lifes, notably a scene of domestic catastrophe created for the camera from plywood, a ceramic pitcher and a plethora of flowers.
"The displays have great contrapuntal rhythms, between past and present, between color and black-and-white, and among sensibilities guided by burning social consciences, the drive to experiment or a joyful embrace of the medium’s idiosyncratic possibilities.
Sometimes all of this can be found in one eclectic presentation. At Edwynn Houk, for example, one of Robert Frank’s insightful images of Americans shares walls with Lillian Bassman’s innovative fashion photography andAbelardo Morell’s playful new still lifes, notably a scene of domestic catastrophe created for the camera from plywood, a ceramic pitcher and a plethora of flowers."
Flowers for Lisa, as it sounds, is Abe Morell’s ballad. Like a deliberate collection of bouquets from Manet, Mitchell and Penn, his new series is effeminate and tender, painterly yet instructed. Morell’s gingerly-framed flowers began as a birthday gift to his wife, Lisa McElaney, with a desire to prolong the pleasure that flowers suggest. Morell went on to investigate the language of flowers, and pronounced them by combining multiple frames of different arrangements to create images of euphoria.
There is the actual pond in Concord, with its trails, its cold depths, its sandy rim, its turtles and fish. And there is the pond that lives in our imaginations as the result of Henry David Thoreau’s classic “Walden.’’ Cuban-born and Boston-based photographer Abelardo Morell explores the interplay of the two through a quartet of panoramic photographs that will be exhibited as part of the launch of a year’s worth of celebrations at the Concord Museum marking the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth.
By utilizing a basic principle of optics once used by Renaissance artists like Canaletto and Vermeer, photographer Abelardo Morell builds a "camera obscura" with which to capture landscapes and architectural wonders. Serena Altschul reports on how Morell's fascinating photographs really bring the outside in.
Artist Abelardo Morell reimagines scenery by turning entire rooms into camera obscuras — effectively merging interior and exterior spaces — and then photographing the results. He discusses how he developed this peculiar practice over time, and how he has found fulfillment infusing everyday environments with new enchantment.
Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door opens on June 1st at the Art Institute of Chicago.
To read the full article, please visit The NY Times.