Abelardo Morell: Changing Lanes

30 November 2021 - 31 January 2022

Edwynn Houk Gallery is pleased to present Changing Lanes, an exhibition of new works by Abelardo Morell (American, b. Cuba, 1948). Always intrigued with optics and how an image is constructed, Morell is known for photographs that transform and transcend the ordinary. This exhibition reflects new directions in his use of photography as a tool for experimentation. 


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. His later works embraced experimentation in the form of collages, cliché verre on glass, and his acclaimed camera obscura works. In his most recent series, undertaken in his studio, Morell erects towers from wooden blocks, applies thick paint onto canvas, and crafts assemblages from ceramics and glassware—yet these constructions are not the final artworks. Morell is neither a painter nor an architect and his works are decidedly photographic. Here, the camera is a means to explore the mediums of sculpture, architecture, and painting from a photographer’s point of view. 


Photographed in the brief moments just before the paint has dried, Morell shows us what a painter cannot, the fleeting stage of an unfinished work. Only as a photograph does this temporary state become permanent and the resulting image is one of both time and texture compressed into two dimensions. With this new work, Morell revisits the still life, combining his affection for classics with his affinity for experimentation. He writes, “Ultimately, I hope that everything I have made and continue to make is part of an expanding arc where early works from youth show up dressed differently, in a new body, with a new voice.”


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, Morell was a professor of photography at Massachusetts College of Art. Morell was the subject of the documentary film Shadow of the House in 2007. He has published eight books, including Book of BooksFlowers for Lisa, and his illustration of Alice in Wonderland. His works are held in numerous private and public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Fondation Cartier, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.


Abelardo Morell: Changing Lanes is on view from 30 November 2021 to 31 January 2022. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 5pm. For more information, please contact info@houkgallery.com.