“A Room with a View: The Photography of Abelardo Morell” at Mead Art Museum, Amherst College Sept. 4, 2007 to Jan. 20, 2008

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

August 29, 2007
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.— On Tuesday, Sept. 4, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will open “A Room with a View: The Photography of Abelardo Morell.” The exhibition surveys the full range of Morell’s achievement, from his earliest photographs of the 1960s to his current work, representing virtually every photographic medium he has explored, in color and black-and-white, and including the evocative camera obscura images for which he is best known. The artist will discuss his work in a free public lecture on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 4:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium on the Amherst College campus. All are welcome to attend the discussion and a related book signing in Stirn Auditorium, as well as a reception and exhibition viewing at the Mead from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Mead will screen the recently released documentary “Shadow of the House: Photographer Abelardo Morell” (2007) on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium. This intimate portrayal of the artist’s working life over a seven-year period includes the photographer’s return to Cuba, where he reconnects with his homeland 40 years after his family fled the Castro regime. Filmmaker Allie Humenuk and Abelardo Morell will be present for a discussion after the screening. Free and open to the public, this event is co-sponsored by the Department of English, Amherst College and the Mead Art Museum.

Born in Havana, Cuba in 1948, Abelardo Morell came to the United States at the age of 14. He became seriously interested in photography as a student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine; he pursued this passion at Yale University, where he received his M.F.A. in 1981. Since 1983, Morell has taught photography at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. His works can be found in the permanent collections of major museums throughout the world.

This exhibition, organized by Mead curator Carol Solomon Kiefer, includes selections from all of Morell’s major photographic projects. In addition to his captivating photographs of books, money and other familiar objects, visitors will see images of works of art and people from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; illustrations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; photograms; and several recent color works among the camera obscura pictures. Morell takes these images in a room-sized darkened chamber (a camera obscura), one wall of which has been pierced by a very small hole; when light enters the room through the hole, it produces an inverted image of the outer world on the opposite wall. The resulting photograph, which combines elements from the interior space (a bed, a chair, a picture on the wall) with a superimposed inverted image from outside, is surreal and sometimes disorienting.

The effect is not restricted to the camera obscura photographs. In the enchanting world of Abelardo Morell simple reality invariably is transformed. As the artist explores the untapped expressive potential of the most commonplace objects—an empty paper bag, a stack of books, a child’s sliding board, a bottle precariously perched on the corner of a table—the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, A Room with a View: The Photography of Abelardo Morell by Carol Solomon Kiefer, which is available free of charge at the museum. The exhibition remains on view through Jan. 20, 2008.

The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings until 9:00 p.m. For more information visit the museum’s Website, www.amherst.edu/mead or call 413/542-2335.

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