Bonni Benrubi Gallery is pleased to present Rock Paper Scissors, new work by Abelardo Morell. The exhibition will further expand on Morell’s innovative “Tent-Camera Obscura” process where visual boundaries are pushed with the use of a lightproof tent and periscope that projects a view of the nearby landscape directly onto the ground. The resulting photographs play on the tropes of impressionistic painting as the refracted light is exposed on the grass and sand below. The artist began using this process in 2010 and in recent months, since receiving a grant from National Geographic, has incorporated the Grand Canyon and other rocky terrains from the American West into this body of work.
Morell has historically used the still life throughout his career and his celebrated body of work “Book of Books” has been a mainstay of contemporary photography. He has recently revisited the idea of paper as subject in such images as “Paper Self” (illustrated) where we see his use not only of texture, but also of the complexity of photographic seeing. He has rendered a simple material into a complex composition stimulating our wonderment as viewers. Morell, ever the consummate inventor, then took this one step further in his series of “Cut-Outs”. The artist gathered antique books of etchings and using everyday scissors, cut into these books and created his own compositions with the imagery that was left behind. The process is best described as an excavation, and as is typical of Morell, his use of the simplest tools reveals the artist’s ever present mastery in turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
A new group of photograms will also be on view. Morell writes of this cameraless process: “To me the excitement of this series lies in being able to work in ‘extra photographic’ ways using some of the techniques and syntax of printmaking and drawing. I love the concrete surfaces in these photograms.” This new series is yet another example of how Morell continues to push the medium of photography and why his pictures allow us to question how we see and what a photograph is.
Abelardo Morell received his MFA from Yale University and was the chair of the photography department of the Massachusetts College of Art until his retirement in 2010. His work has been exhibited internationally and he has received numerous prestigious awards including the 2011 ICP Infinity Award. He has had numerous books of his photographs published to date. A major retrospective, jointly organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, The Getty Museum and the High Museum is scheduled to open May 31, 2013, in Chicago and will travel to other major venues. A new monograph will be published on the occasion of the exhibition.