Tag Archives: USA

On the Street in: Denver

DENVER 2016 ~ On a short trip to Denver, Colorado back in April, I took some time to wonder the streets and captured some of the vibrant street art scene there.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-1-20-50-am

I stayed on E. Colfax near Park Avenue and the first thing I noticed right off-the-bat was the strong sticker game going on there. Being a big sticker fan myself, I got a little obsessed trying to document all the slaps. Every sign, newspaper box, dumpster and drainpipe were plastered with plenty of great sticker work.

Names like MESR, INVIZ, SPB (Silly Pink Bunny / Jeremy Fish), YESM (tribute?), AEKS and HB9, led me from sign to sign.

YESM ? (tribute?) WKT, EMT

INVIZ, FTSK – Label 228

IMOK (If Mother Only Knew) – Jive

SPB (Silly Pink Bunny / Jeremy Fish)

FTSK Label 228 & Hello my name is BERT

Some nice 228 Labels, hand styles and graphics were seen in some out-of-the way places too.

Then I made my way over to the Larimer Street area near 27th St. where there are tons of sanctioned murals but even more unsanctioned stuff. There are two alleyways on either side of Larimer St. that are chock-full of tags, murals, wheatpastes, throwies, and just about anything else you can think of.

@ElleStreetArt

Trashbird, Lomax and??

One of my favorite discoveries there was the “Kwiatkowski Press” prints. A project by Brian Bradley, working under the name Frank Kwiatkowski, he carves his designs on sections of old traffic cones to make the prints. I saw at least five of them up on walls and other surfaces. He has a very unique style that reminds me of the raw and revolutionary work of Emory Douglas in the 1970s.  Kwiatkowski often centers his work around the healthcare industrial complex and his struggles in dealing with diabetes.

Kwiatkowski Press

                       

Another wonderful discovery was the work of Koko Bayer (@kokonofilter). The grandchild of groundbreaking Modern Bauhaus Artist Herbert Bayer, Koko’s project “brings his work back to life” by reproducing images and getting them up out in the streets, and adding a contemporary twist here and there. Now a whole new generation can be introduced to his masterworks through this collaboration that defies the bounds of time and mortality.

Koko Bayer also documents the weathering of the pieces over time.

img_3942ss

While walking through one of the alleys I was surprised to see a huge piece by one of my longtime favorite artists: GATS (Graffiti Against the System). @GATSPTV

I first came across the work of GATS while visiting ROME in 2010. The East Bay artist has one of the most recognizable styles on the streets. This double-faced piece behind The Meadowlark Bar music venue was so rad, I did my best to move the dumpsters out of the way to get a full shot, but the left one was full of cooking oil, so it was no-go.

img_4007

So I shot this Impossible Project / Polaroid of one face.

There was waaay too much wonderful stuff to mention all of it in this post. So I’ll show a few more here, then you can click the link at the bottom of the page (or here) if you’d like to flip through my Flickr Gallery of 80 photos.

CORPSE ART (@c0rpse___)

YEN34

OhYeah !!

Scot LeFavor WHAM! mural

There’s tons more to see, so click through the gallery below to fully immerse yourself in the Denver street scene.

Check back soon for the next installment of our “On the Street in:” series.  Hint: it’s often preceded by “Moon’s Over…”

Stay Up! ~ Peace.

===============================================================

ALL TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN

Advertisements

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks

IMG_4554s

Late in the 1980s, burgeoning New York art collector Larry Warsh acquired a series of eight, common composition notebooks from members of a seemingly-defunct and little-known band called “Gray.” Those notebooks sat boxed in a closet of Warsh’s Manhattan apartment for more than 25 years. Now they are on a touring exhibition from the Brooklyn Museum, with stops at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, and the books are likely reaching a much bigger audience than the band ever attracted back at C.B.G.B.’s in 1980.

Of course, these aren’t just any notebooks. “Gray” isn’t just any band born in the Bowery. And it turns out that Larry Warsh is a damn good judge of groundbreaking art.

The sparsely-filled books contain years of hand-written notes by revolutionary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and they seem to offer a peep-hole in to the mind of that unconventional genius. This exhibit presents pages from the notebooks alongside a selection of his larger compositions, providing the visitor an in-depth exploration of the Basquiat lexicon that is both verbal and visual.

IMG_4542s

View from the Basquiat exhibition at the High Museum of Art.

Basquiat started the band, eventually called “Gray” with performance artist Michael Holman in 1979. They, with various other bandmates, played their ambient/industrial music at the usual downtown haunts, but with growing recognition of his visual artistic talent, Basquiat left the band in mid 1980. It was right about then his career seemed to lasso a shooting star and the artist struggled to hold on tight for as long as he could.

Surviving band members reunited to play at Basquiat’s memorial service in 1988 and again more recently for art happenings and music festivals. In 2011 they even released a “new” album “Shades of…” which includes cuts of  the late Basquiat’s voice and music.

GRAY – SHADES OF… from Plushsafe Records.

 

But this is about the notebooks…

View from the Basquiat exhibition at the High Museum of Art.

Since the beginning, Basquiat’s artistic efforts have focused on words and short phrases. The SAMO@ graffiti he perpetrated with school friend Al Diaz in the late seventies often seemed like excerpts of Beat poetry.

MICROWAVE & VIDEO X-SISTANCE
“BIG MAC” CERTIFICATE
FOR X-MAS
-SAMO©

Even after his painting evolved from street walls, to paper and fabric, to canvas and wood installations, these words and phrases infiltrated every aspect of Basquiat’s artwork. In fact they seem to be the actual essence of it, merely enhanced by the more visually dominant graphic elements.

Basquiat – Untitled, 1982–83. Oilstick, colored pencil, crayon, and gouache on paper mounted on canvas. Collection of Fred Hoffman.  Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

This first major exhibition of the books displays 160 pages of the artist’s personal writings, sketches and notes, accompanied by other drawings, paintings and historical Basquiat ephemera. The pages on display often reveal a kind of evolution on many of the subjects he used in his more extensive paintings, along with those iconic motifs like figures, faces and crowns.

Page from Basquiat notebooks – Famous Negro Athletes.

Basquiat drawing – Famous Negro Athletes, 1981, oil stick on paper. Collection of Glenn O’Brien.

 

Basquiat developed a unique way of using language the way other artists used paint, or filmmakers use footage. The notebooks seem to be like mental scrapbooks for the artist to collect and manipulate phrases and ideas.

The exhibit presents them as “autonomous works” and not the “preparatory studies” of a sketchbook. But they do have a sketchbook feel to them, only these sketches are made with words instead of line and shadow.

This brings me back to the Beat Poets, and Kerouac in particular. On the back cover of my copy of the book: “Jack Kerouac Book of Sketches“, (Pengiun 2006), it says:

“…Ed White mentioned to Jack Kerouac ‘Why don’t you just sketch in the streets like a painter but with words.’ White’s suggestion is credited with helping to inspire Kerouac’s move to spontaneous prose.”

Here’s an excerpt from a Kerouac “sketch” in Massachusetts.

———————–

Concord River RR
Bridge
Sunday Oct 24 ’54
Lowel
5 PM
     A ridiculous NE
tumbleweed danced
across the RR bridge
     Thoreau’s Concord
is blue aquamarine
in October red
sereness — little
Indian hill towards
Walden, is orange
brown with Autumn
The faultless sky
attests to T’s solemn
wisdom being correct
— but perfect wisdom is Buddha’s

—————-

Many of these Basquiat notebook pages have a very similar feel…

Basquiat Page2

Basquiat – from Untitled Notebook #2, 1980–1981 – Collection of Larry Warsh, Copyright © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum.

 

Just as other collage artists like Ray Johnson and Robert Rauschenberg collected little snippets physically from newspapers, letters and trash piles, to later assemble and re-arrange in their artworks, – Basquiat seems to have been collecting these snippets verbally instead. He collected them in the notebooks by writing them down when he read them, heard them, witnessed them, or just thought them up.

While many lines are filled with these intriguing collections of phrases, and developing ideas, other pages do indeed feel more like finished works of art on their own.

basquiat_untitled_notebook_page_1987_2

Basquiat –  Untitled Notebook Page, circa 1987 – 

Collection of Larry Warsh. Copyright © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum.

Looking closely at the intricate structures of words and lines on the pages, one can hardly resist recalling the obvious influences of seasoned contemporaries like Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly.

Basquiat – detail from page of Notebook #4 – Collection of Larry Warsh.

In addition to these rarely seen notebook pages, some of the more emblematic Basquiat works are traveling with the show. These larger compositions, canvasses and collages add a pleasing compliment to the exhibition.

Views from the show at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Some of the most precious little items in the show are the rare mementos of the artist’s life, such as the Brooklyn Museum Junior Membership Card signed by a young Jean-Michel Basquiat.

And the unforgettable Polaroid photograph by cohort Andy Warhol.

Jean Michel – Basquiat Polaroid 1982 – by Andy Warhol on loan from private collection, seen at The High Museum of Art.

These additions provide a much wider scope for viewing the artist’s work, making this a unique opportunity for both longtime aficionados, and Basquiat newbies alike.

As notebook owner Larry Warsh expressed so perfectly in an April, 2015 Q&A article for Departures by Laura van Straaten:

“No one can have a complete picture of the inner workings of any artist, but the words on these pages give us a glimpse of the soul behind this complex, creative persona.”

While I highly recommend attending this exhibition if you can, I can’t help myself from wondering what else Warsh might have stashed in that closet of his…

Tour Schedule :

Brooklyn Museum, New York

April 3–August 23, 2015

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

February 28–May 29, 2016

Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida

August 8–October 23, 2016

 

Links, Sources & Recommended reading:

 

Departures: “Q&A: Larry Warsh On Basquiat’s Notebooks” by Laura van Straaten

Financial Times: “Larry Warsh on his approach to collecting” by Peter Aspden

Gray History from the website of Michael Holman

http://plushsaferecords.com/

http://www.basquiat.com/artist-timeline.htm

The SAMO© Graffiti photographed by Henry Flynt

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/touring/basquiat_notebooks http://www.high.org/Art/Exhibitions/Basquiat-Notebooks http://pamm.org/exhibitions/basquiat-unknown-notebooks

==================================================

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN (except where noted.)

 

 


Vik Muniz Retrospective at High Museum

By guest contributor Karen Rothstein.

Now on exhibit until August 21, 2016 at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, is a retrospective including more than 100 photographs by the Brazilian born mixed media artist Vik Muniz.

He has such a warm and enthusiastic manner. At the media preview, he expressed his overwhelming joy at seeing museum-goers actually taking close-up notice of all the unorthodox materials he used to create his artworks. Even the youngest child can find something in his work that brings them pleasure and perhaps engages them into taking an interest in the world of Art.

Photo Feb 24, 11 14 11 AM

The writer, Karen Rothstein with artist Muniz in front of his Self-Portrait: “I Am Too Sad to Tell You”, after Bas Jan Ader, from the “Rebus” series.

Muniz is known for trying to create a sense of wonder and intrigue within his photography. The way he creates each piece is unique, adding a plethora of unconventional items in the process of making each finished photograph. These things that you might be familiar with in their proper place, will all come as a surprise in his art. Things such as: tiny childhood toys, garbage, torn pieces of magazines, diamonds, food of all sorts, etc…. It is easy to see the artist has a playful sense of humor. The different textures and sizes of his working canvasses make each finished photograph very unique. For example, one project included large-scale drawings made by bulldozers on a construction site, while other images were made by assembling small pieces of garbage or tiny toys and then photographing them from above, to reveal the intended scene that he pictured in his head before it all started. Be sure to watch the video in the gallery, showing how he created “Mother and Child” from the “Pictures of Garbage” series.

Vik Muniz – Mother and Child  (Suellen)  from “Pictures of Garbage” series.

Muniz often makes several works in a series, using similar materials to explore a common theme, materials that often trigger the viewer’s memory, recalling another time and place.

001Double MonaLisa3008X10o4

Vik Muniz – “Double Mona Lisa” (Peanut Butter and Jelly) from “After Warhol” series.

Vik Muniz – “Saturn devouring one of his sons” after Goya, from “Pictures of Junk Series.”

Vik Muniz – “Vik, 2 Years Old,”  from Pictures of Album series (representing one of the few pictures from his childhood)

Before moving to New York as a young man, Muniz was brought up in a working class family in Brazil while the country was under a strong military regime. People couldn’t speak their mind and times were hard. To this day he stands up for the underdog and addresses issues of social justice, and several of the works on display express the depth of his feelings.

 

Muniz Stinney

Vik Muniz – “George Stinney, Jr.” from “Pictures of Album” series  (Stinney was convicted at a flawed trial in 1944 at the age of 14 in South Carolina.)

 

Vik Muniz – Six children from the “Sugar Children” series (Children from sugar plantation workers who played in the sand on the Island of St. Kitts).

Muniz really loves to use all different textures and is intrigued with color pigmentation as seen in his wonderful rendering of Gauguin’s “Day of the Gods”. Look close, the colors and textures comes to life.

Vik Muniz – “Mahana No Atua” (Day of the Gods), after Gauguin, from “Pictures of Pigment” series.

Muniz is primarily working in series these days, but he started out in the 80’s doing sculpture. A fine example is on display, be sure to few his Mnemonic Vehicle (Ferrari Berlinetta) a composite of polyurethane, plexiglass and aluminum, portraying a nearly life-size Ferrari automobile as a massive matchbox car.

The Artist is a true master of creativity and composition, his work has been on display the world over. He currently works in  New York City and Rio de Janeiro.

This exhibit is a wonderful one and will make for great discussion with family and friends in days to follow.

Vik Muniz – A Bar at the Folies-Bergère after Édouard Manet, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series.

The Vik Muniz exhibition runs through August 21, 2016 at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Visit www.high.org for more info.


Butcher Brings Majestic Everglades to Coconut Grove

Acclaimed large-format nature photographer Clyde Butcher will be opening a new gallery in Coconut Grove, Miami this February.

The prolific photographer is set to attend the grand opening of his new “Everglades Gallery,” located at 2994 McFarlane Road on Friday, February, 13, (a great Valentine’s Day date.) Butcher will also be on hand at an invitation-only V.I.P. event on Tuesday evening, January 13, to give a keynote presentation at 8pm.

The new gallery apparently opened its doors for a while during the holidays, as reported in this Coconut Grove Grapevine Article:

butchercggallery

The Clyde Butcher Facebook Page also posted some pictures of the gallery set-up in progress:

clydebutcherFB1

Butcher’s majestic black and white photographs are surely among the most moving representations of Florida’s vanishing wilderness you’ll ever see.  As I stated before in my review of his “Preserving Eden” exhibition, Butcher is one of the greatest American landscape photographers and clearly one of the hardest-working men in the business.

This Coconut Grove “Everglades Gallery” joins Butcher’s other two venues, the “Big Cypress Gallery” in Ochopee, and “The Venice Gallery & Studio” just south of Sarasota, which also houses his 2000 sq. ft. darkroom.

So take note Miami, you now have no excuse not to go see the work of this living legend for yourself.


Jan Fabre set for groundbreaking show at Hermitage in St.Petersburg 2016

Belgian artist Jan Fabre has been invited to The Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, for a monumental, one-man exhibition in September 2016.

MIAMI BEACH – At the SCOPE International Contemporary Art Show in Miami Beach this week, Jan Fabre had several works being exhibited by MAM Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art gallery based in Vienna, Austria. Positioned near the main entrance, Fabre’s colorful and macabre pieces caught the eye of most visitors to the show.

"Skull with magpie" 2001 Jan Fabre

Skull with magpie 2001 Jan Fabre

His works using animal parts, such as Skull with magpie, include jewel-beetle wing cases and stuffed, dead animals. While they may provide some challenging visual images for inquisitive collectors, their iridescent attraction is undeniable.

MAM’s Judith Radlegger was among the gallery’s representatives at SCOPE, answering a virtually non-stop flow of questions from interested art lovers. But one of the most interesting tidbits she revealed was the recent announcement that Jan Fabre will have a massive exhibition at the Russian State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg in 2016.

Fabre will be the first living artist to have such an exhibition at the historic venue, which is happening at the invitation of Hermitage Director, Mikhail Piotrovsky. It will be curated by Dimitri Ozerkov, who recently was in charge of the renovation and grand opening of their new contemporary art wing. Fabre’s installation will take up to 30 rooms in multiple buildings and is sure to make headlines and draw the attention of the international art world, as did a previous installation at the Belgian Royal Palace in 2002. The palace’s Mirror Room and chandelier were covered with the wings of more than one million beetles.

IMG_5259-Fabre-C

Heaven of Delight (seen from below) 2002 Jan Fabre

At SCOPE Miami 2014, Fabre’s colorful pieces were also drawing attention, and many visitors stepped up close to the work to get a better look at the intricate beetle wings used to make the pieces. Encased behind glass, King Leopold II in the Air (from the series Hieronymus Bosch in Congo) utilized thousands of the tiny wings mounted on wood in the form of a crown.

IMG_0392-Fabre2s

Detail from King Leopold II in the Air (from the series Hieronymus Bosch in Congo) 2012 Jan Fabre

IMG_0390-Fabre3

Skull with rabbit 2014 Jan Fabre

SCOPE runs through Sunday December 7th, but if you couldn’t make it to Miami this year, and you won’t be heading to Russia in 2016, you can catch one of his many other international exhibitions. Check out his currently running shows via his website here: http://janfabre.be/angelos/en/running/

==================================================

ALL TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN


Digitaltruth Photo becomes exclusive U.S. Distributor for Labeauratoire’s Caffenol Concoction.

DEVELOP YOUR FILM WITH COFFEE!!

Labeauratoire’s Caffenol Concoction is ready to go!

And now U.S. Customers can get it more quickly from:

digitaltruthlogo

click their logo above to visit their site, or go to: http://www.digitaltruth.com/store/cart/Labeauratoire/

Labeauratoire's Caffenol Concoction

OUR NATURAL ALTERNATIVE BLACK & WHITE FILM DEVELOPER
works on prints too!*

Yes, it’s true! You can develop B&W film with a careful combination of natural, household substances. Our not-so-secret recipe contains a special blend of different bottom-shelf instant coffees, washing powder, vitamin c powder, and natural sea salt. Labeauratoire’s new Caffenol Concoction has been refined over years of experimentation and tested on dozens of different films with spectacularly unique results! Now we’re making it available for you to try yourself!

FILM: Eastman Cinematic Plus-X 5231 (expired 2004)

The concept of “caffenol” is not new. It’s been around for quite a while now and there are many different recipes out there. You might even want to try making your own. But if you’d like to use our tried & tested formula, I’ve carefully measured and packaged the two commonly used sizes for developing tanks: 600ml or 1000ml.

Each packet comes with complete instructions for developing your own film at home. (Or you can read directions on our website here.) Our Caffenol Concoction may not be the finest quality film developer you can buy. Consider it the Volkswagen Bus when compaired to the Rolls Royce of other developers like Rodinal or Diafine. But many people are enjoying the quirky results from this natural alternative process.

Perutz Perpantic 17 from 1956 developed in Labeauratoire’s Caffenol Concoction.

You can see hundreds of example photos from film developed in our Caffenol Concoction here:

CAFFENOL CONCOCTION FLICKR SET

Check out the fine grain achieved with this developer. My scanner can’t even cope with it!

FILM: Eastman High Contrast Pan Intermediate Film SO-331 (expired 2003)

And here is a list of just some of the other film’s I have developed successfully using this method: Ilford HP5, Ilford Mark V, Ilford 3200 Pro, PolyPan F, Bergger BRF-200 , Fuji NeoPan 400, Kodak Panatomic-X, Kodak T-Max 400, Kodak T-Max 3200, Kodak Tri-x, Kodak Plus-X, Kodak Kodalith, Eastman Double-X, Eastman High Contrast Pan 5369, Eastman Super-XX Nitrate Film, Eastman FGSR5375 Fine Grain Movie Film, Eastman High Contrast SO-331, Tasma 64, ORWO NP30, ORWO NP20, ORWO NP22, ORWO NP55, ORWO NP27, ORWO Pan 100, ORWO Pan 400, ORWO MA8, ORWO PC7, ORWO N74, ORWO UN54, AGFA Pan 25, AGFA APX 400, Forte Pan 400, Lucky SHD 400, Perutz Perpantic 17, Macophot 400, Vari-X VariCath, FomaPan 200, FomaPan T800,

and most excitingly, Labeauratoire’s own BLACKOUT B&W Transparency Film – see this photo below.

BLACKOUT B&W Transparency film developed in Labeauratoire’s Caffenol Concoction.

YES!!! – You can have naturally sepia-tinted B&W Slides! Using our BLACKOUT Super Slow, Ultra High Contrast Transparency Film with our Caffenol Concoction, you’ll get a rich brown tone without any digital king-fu. It’s like Scala and Kodalith had a baby and called it BLACKOUT! You can see more examples from this unique film here: http://www.labeauratoire.com/film/blackout/blackout.html

*You can also use our Caffenol Concoction as a paper developer.

CLICK HERE to see tips on developing paper.

I’ll be doing a whole separate post on printing with Caffenol Concoction soon.

Anyway, I know you’ll enjoy experimenting with this exciting developer. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I’m “LANCEPHOTO” on Flickr or you can eMail me LANCE [at] LANCEPHOTO.COM

And don’t forget!

now U.S. Customers can get it more quickly from:

digitaltruthlogo

click their logo above to visit their site, or go to: http://www.digitaltruth.com/store/cart/Labeauratoire/

Happy Shooting!!

========================================================

ALL IMAGES IN THIS POST ARE © LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN

Please do not duplicate without permission.

 


Abelardo Morell’s Universe Next Door at High Museum Atlanta

ABELARDO MORELL’S UNIVERSE NEXT DOOR AT HIGH MUSEUM OF ART – ATLANTA

Review by Labeauratoire US Correspondent Karen Nurenberg Rothstein

TheUniverseNextDoor1s

The photography exhibition, “The Universe Next Door” is now on view at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia through May 18, 2014. It includes more than 100 works that span Abelardo Morell’s career from 1986 through the present-time.

1ManhattanView1s

Abelardo Morell – Camera Obscura: Manhattan View Looking South in Large Room
1996, Gelatin silver print.

Abelardo Morell was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948. He fled with his family in 1962, but before he left Cuba he saw many atrocities. His life was turned upside down by the things he lived through. These events have given him a great sense of depth and feeling which he has used in his work as a photographer.  Morell is especially known for his work with the camera obscura, but he got his early inspiration from great masters of street photography such as Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Bresson was an early adopter of the 35mm format camera, which Abelardo used primarily for some time, but with the birth of his children, he left the light weight 35mm camera and went to a heavier, large format model. He began to experience things in a different way after his children were born, and he used the large format camera to express that new found depth of meaning with contrasting light and dark expression in his work.

Unlike many other photographers, Morell doesn’t limit himself to one photographic style. There are several different visual avenues he explores, giving this exhibition a dynamic variety.

CHILDREN

Abelardo Morell shows us that you are never to old to experience things with the enthusiasm of a child. His children opened his eyes, allowing him to visualize things with a simplicity and wonderment, to go beyond what is plainly visible and to genuinely see and photograph the world in a different way. His work is indeed a magical mix between realism, surrealism and simplicity. Consider his photograph of a pencil. It is simply a pencil, but the morning shadows transform it into a magical tower.

Abelardo Morell – Pencil, 2000, Gelatin silver print.

One of the key images included in this exhibit shows the shadow of the artist’s house on the ground. A door, windows, and a fence have been drawn into the image, and his children pose, showing what might be going on inside or within. Reality merges with imaginary.

Shadow of the House 002

Abelardo Morell – Laura and Brady in the Shadow of Our House, 1994, Gelatin silver print

SURREALISM

In “Still Life with Wine Glass”, which is a photogram, Morell has positioned the objects as a still-life. But with his artful magic and the use of water and glass, the result is surreal. The perspective is distorted, forcing the viewer to focus on the objects he has brought to the foreground.

5StillLifeWineGlass1s

Abelardo Morell – Photogram on 20″ x 24″ Film, 2006, Gelatin silver print.

Morell also has a great talent for showing excitement. He is able to capture the unique behaviors and properties of motion, and several photographs in this exhibit are good examples of this talent. The “Motion Study-Hammer” gives the illusion that a hammer is coming down to hit the nail on the head, but in reality it is three impressions of a hammer in lead.

4MotionStudy-Hammer1s

Abelardo Morell – Motion Study of Hammer Impressions on Lead
2004, Gelatin silver print.

CAMERA OBSCURA

The Camera Obscura (Latin for “dark room”)  was one of the earliest methods of projecting an image. This was achieved by opening a small hole to allow light from the outside to penetrate into a darkened room. This technique would cast a faint, upside-down image of the outside scene onto the inside wall. This process helped early master artists such as Vermeer and dates back to the 10th century or perhaps even farther.

6empireStateBs

Abelardo Morell – Camera Obscura: The Empire State Building in Bedroom
1994, Inkjet print.

In 1991, Morell started bringing the outside world inside with his use of the camera obscura. At home with his family was where he felt the most inspired, so he started blackening rooms of his house and, with his large format camera on a tripod, he set out to make the most enchanting and exciting photographs he had done in his life.

Using Kodak Tri-X film in a view-camera, these first camera obscura images required an exposure time of several hours. When the first image was developed it was an epiphany for him. The interaction between the projected, outside image, with the ordinary elements of the room inside, produced a truly unique mixture.

Fall1s

Abelardo Morell – Camera Obscura: View of Central Park Looking North
Fall, 2008, Inkjet print.

Later, Morell started capturing these projections in color, and also devised a way to invert the image so that it would be seen right-side up. His retrospective at the High Museum displays the exciting evolution of these camera obscura photographs.

“A lot of my work tries to disorient you once you get invited in to something that seems normal.  I like to suggest that what may be empty is not. When you feel alone there is actually a lot more of the world coming into your space than you think.” 

– Abelardo Morell  –  http://shadowofthehouse.com/film.html

8Camera Obscura-ViewAtlanta1s

Abelardo Morell – Camera Obscura:
View of Atlanta Looking South Down Peachtree Street in Hotel Room
2013, Inkjet print.

TENT CAMERA

The next venture for Morell was to make a portable camera obscura, and his “Tent Camera” was what came to materialize from this endeavor. With the help of a friend he placed a periscope on top of a darkened tent enabling him to project the outside images onto the ground inside, where there was already a natural canvas. With the advances in digital photography, the increased light sensitivity allowed Morell to make exposures more quickly.

bridge1s

Abelardo Morell discusses the making of his image. Tent Camera Image on Ground:
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Yates, 2012, Inkjet print

“The added use of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy on my cam­era lets me record visual moments in a much shorter time frame– for instance I can now get clouds and peo­ple to show up in some of the photographs.”

– Abelardo Morell  – http://www.abelardomorell.net/srcHTML/tent-camera-statement.html

Lib­er­ated now with his tent camera, he was free to experiment out in the world.

10OldFaith1s

Abelardo Morell – Tent-Camera Image on Ground: View of Old Faithful Geyser,
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2011, Inkjet print.

BOOKS, PAPER AND MONEY

In some of the other works on display, Morell uses a 35mm camera to capture his love for the simplicity of everyday things, such as Books, Paper and Money.  With this camera he achieves majestic close-ups, engaging the observer to realize the beauty in things we so often take for granted as mere objects.

In “Down the Rabbit Hole”, the rabbit, from “Alice in Wonderland,” struggles to peer down a hole made in a large book. This makes the viewer want to look inside and perhaps dream of what might be down there, and of possibilities to come.

RabbitHole1s

Abelardo Morell – Down the Rabbit Hole
(From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), 1998, Inkjet print.

In the image “Paper-Self” he has merely stacked up paper to create a profile of himself. The visual architecture of this photograph, with its detailed, contrasting highlights and shadows, is so well structured, it reveals his mastery and shows us the intricacy and pulchritude of his mind.

12self1s

Abelardo Morell – Paper Self, 2012, inkjet print.

PICTURING THE SOUTH

In 1996 the High Museum established “Picturing the South” an initiative commissioning established and emerging artists to make a body of work that would show off the south. Abelardo Morell is the latest artist to receive this commission. He chose for his subject matter, the trees of the southern landscape, and captured them in his somewhat whimsical, yet natural way.

13trees1s

Abelardo Morell discusses his image: Cutout in Print with Pine Trees Behind
2013, Inkjet print

During Morell’s talk at the exhibition’s press conference, he describes his technique of hanging a large image of a wooded scene in front of the actual trees in the forest. He then cut out parts to expose the real landscape.

Like so much of this exhibition, this image offers us an interesting look into the way Morell continues to surprise us with each step he makes in his photographic journey.

IMG_9849s

 “The Universe Next Door” runs through May 18, 2014 at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.

LINKS:

High Museum Atlanta’s Website: www.high.org

Abelardo Morell’s Official Website: www.abelardomorell.net

—————————————————————

ALL TEXT AND “LABEAURATOIRE” PHOTOGRAPHS BY KAREN NURENBERG ROTHSTEIN
FOR LABEAURATOIRE ©2014