Abelardo Morell
I have always loved The 19th Century photographs of the American West by Carleton Watkins, Timothy O’Sullivan and William Henry Jackson but, when I had a commission to photograph these landscapes anew, the work of these men daunted me—so much so that, for a long time, I couldn’t imagine how I would approach making landscape images myself. But like many immigrants, I felt moved to explore the vastness of my adopted country. To picture America’s national parks, I invented a device—part tent, part periscope—to show how the immediacy of the ground we walk on enhances our understanding of the panorama, the larger world it helps to form. I wanted to find a way to make these well-known views of familiar and iconic places into my own private discoveries. Jamie M. Allen of the George Eastman Museum describes what I do with my tent-camera better than I can in his book Picturing America’s National Parks (2016): “the resulting photographs are a mix of image and texture. The image is that of a common scenic view; the texture, however, is derived from the land itself, the very spot where one stands to experience the scenery. The ground cover – dirt, tocks, grass and sand – typically lies at the onlooker’s feet, ignored in favor of the vista. Morell, conversely, ties the ground to the scenic view, transforming the geology of the landscape into his canvas”. The fourth century poet, Lu Chi, wrote: “We enclose boundless space in a square foot of paper”. I know he was defining the task of the poet but, to me, his words shape my own ambition as a photographer.
Abelardo Morell was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948. He immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1962. Morell received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and his MFA from The Yale University School of Art. He has received an honorary degree from Bowdoin College in 1997 and from Lesley University in 2014.

His publications include a photographic illustration of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1998) by Dutton Children’s Books, A Camera in a Room(1995) by Smithsonian Press, A Book of Books (2002) and Camera Obscura (2004) by Bulfinch Press and Abelardo Morell (2005), published by Phaidon Press. The Universe Next Door (2013), published by The Art Institute of Chicago. His newest body of work Flowers for Lisa will be published by Abrams in the Fall of 2018

He has received a number of awards and grants, which include a Guggenheim fellowship in 1994 and an Infinity Award in Art from ICP in 2011. In November 2017, he will receive a Lucie Award for an achievement in fine art.

His work has been collected and shown in many galleries, institutions and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, The Chicago Art Institute, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Houston Museum of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Victoria & Albert Museum and over seventy other museums in the United States and abroad. A retrospective of his work organized jointly by the Art Institute of Chicago, The Getty in Los Angeles and The High Museum in Atlanta closed in May 2014 after a year of travel. He has an upcoming show at Rose Gallery in Santa Monica, CA featuring his series After Constable on view October 28, 2017 – January 6, 2018.