September 4, 2007 - January 27, 2008


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. Co-sponsored by the Department of English, Amherst College and the Mead Art Museum.

This exhibition, organized by Mead curator Carol Solomon Kiefer, 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 presenting selections from all of his major projects, including the evocative camera obscura images for which he is best known.

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.

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 MFA 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.

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.


Artist Lecture: Abelardo Morell
Thursday, September 20, 4:30 p.m.
Stirn Auditorium
Reception, book signing and exhibition viewing to follow
Free, fully accessible, and open to the public

Film Screening: “Shadow of the House: Photographer Abelardo Morell” (2007)
Thursday, October 11, 7:30 p.m.
Stirn Auditorium
Discussion between Filmmaker Allie Humenuk and Artist Abelardo Morell to follow.