Opening Reception Saturday, March 7, 6 - 8 pm
Artist Talk Thursday, April 2, 12:30 pm
Abelardo Morell, born in Havana, Cuba, is currently Professor of Photography at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA. Morell moved to the United States from Cuba in 1962, received his B.A. from Bowdoin College, ME, in 1977; and then obtained a Master in Fine Arts from the Yale School of Art in 1981. His work has been on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York; the Art Institute of Chicago, IL, as well as numerous other venues abroad. His work is represented by Carroll and Sons Gallery, Boston, MA (www.carrollandsons.net). A documentary about Morell’s life titled, Shadow of the House, created by Framingham State College student, Allie Humenuk, premiered in Boston at the Museum of Fine Art last year.
The Danforth Museum of Art is pleased to present Continental Drift, an exhibition of Abelardo Morell’s seven cliché verre images of the continents seen from an aerial perspective. Best known for his exploration of photographic techniques, Morell uses the historic optical device known as camera obscura, which served as a precursor to photography. In his use of camera obscura, Morell updates historic artistic techniques to create black and white, as well as color photographic images. These images are both evocative and personal, managing to call his entire range of subject matter into question.
Cliché-Verre means literally “glass picture”. This method of making pictures was used by the French painters Corot, Millet, Daubigny and others. It is, basically, a hand drawn negative.
Corot and his contemporaries took a piece of flat glass, smoked it with a lit candle, and then scratched an image in the soot-covered surface with a sharp pointed instrument. This was placed onto a sheet of photosensitive paper and exposed to light. When the light passed through the clear parts of the glass where it had been scratched, it produced a line drawing in black on a white background.
In my own work I coat glass plates with several layers of ink to form interesting tonal densities. Often, when the ink is dry, I scratch the coated surface of the plate to arrive at shapes such as the continents in my recent series. When the plate is to my liking I then expose it to photographic film the same size as the glass. The negative resulting from this transfer I, then, print onto photographic paper.
Abelardo Morell, November 2007