Krakow Witkin Gallery | Abelardo Morell: Vessels


still life image of glassware on a piece of plywood
Abelardo Morell, Glassware Still Life #1 2019

January 16, 2021 – March 17, 2021

Abelardo Morell: Vessels
Krakow Witkin Gallery

In-Person Viewing:
10 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

Virtual Viewing:

Krakow Witkin Gallery proudly announces a new body of work by Abelardo Morell.

The subjects of Morell’s new project are containers, and the events that reside in them.

In the artist’s own words:
“The negative space in empty vessels always affects what it holds. Shape and content are eternally tied with each other. One could say that this interdependence of two realities manifests perfectly in the fit of the fetus inside the womb.

Even though the containers I photograph actually provide limits to the stuff inside them, my idea is to create pictures where inner regions suggest a more expansive space. I think that a lot of what I am after is to create little theaters where fabulous things may happen. I’m interested in the way limitations can sometimes become springboards to freedom. It is this conviction that drives much of my work in general.”

“We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.”
Lao Tzu

“We poets struggle with non-being to force it to give yield being;
We knock upon silence for an answering music.
We enclose boundless space in a square foot of paper;
We pour out deluge from the inch space of the heart.”
Lu Chi

Morell continues by saying:
“With a nod to the 17th century Dutch still-life and modern paintings too, I had an ambition to create something new in the still-life genre. To create my pictures, I utilized multiple exposures of various groupings and regroupings of vessels, which I later combined into one picture. This collaging of realities, made from having a thing from here combine with a thing from there, form delightful surprises for me with their unpredictable shimmering, kaleidoscopic results.

I made some other still-life photographs without doing separate exposures. In other words, they are “straight” pictures of arranged objects. My role in these creations is somewhat linked to what a sculptor does but it’s important to know that I don’t consider these images to be pictures of sculpture. Rather, to me, they are photographs that use sculptural ideas but have at their core a descriptive photographic language and syntax involving things like lenses, focal length, camera position, depth of field, lighting and time. They are photographic creations first and foremost. I think that I would be a lousy sculptor!”

The artist’s “short list“ of inspirations is the following:
Juan Sanchez Cotan, Pieter Class, Willem Claesz Heda, Chardin, Juan Gris, Brancusi, Picasso, Hannah Hoch, Giorgio Morandi, Umberto Boccioni, Meret Oppenheim, Irving Penn, Jim Dine, Christo, Louise Nevelson, Robert Gover, Allan McCollum, Betty Woodman, Tony Cragg, Jan Groover, William Bailey and Rachel Whiteread.

In conjunction with the presentation of Abelardo Morell’s recent work, Krakow Witkin Gallery is also happy to present a selection of his earlier works (which can be seen here).

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. Tent-Camera (2018), published by Nazraeli Press. Flowers for Lisa (2018), published by Abrams Books.

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 received a Lucie Award for 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. Most recently, his work was included in the exhibition Ansel Adams in Our Time, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Boston MAExhibitionsFebruary 2021January 2021Krakow Witkin GalleryMarch 2021Virtual