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Abelardo Morell: Flowers for Lisa Part II
1st November 2018 at 8:00 am - 22nd December 2018 at 5:00 pm GMT
Titled after Morell’s wife of more than 40 years, Lisa McElaney, Flowers for Lisa evolved from the artist’s quest for a birthday gift that would endure beyond the brief lifespan of the bouquets Lisa was accustomed to receiving, and impress her with its bold, lasting visual impact. The process of creating this initial work for his wife spurred an intensive investigation into the theme over several years, resulting in a series of more than seventy examples that span a range of influences and improvisational techniques, and “serve an emotional impulse to show my dedication to the woman with whom I share my life.”
Excited by the prospect of exploring this subject matter, he embraced the challenge of engaging with the longstanding tradition of depicting floral arrangements in still lifes from a fresh perspective—inspired by Jan Brueghel, Giorgio Morandi, Edouard Manet, Georgia O’Keefe, and Irving Penn, among others.
Working primarily within his studio, Morell incorporated the techniques of painters, sculptors, print-makers and photographers to expand the notion of what a floral still life, and indeed what a photograph itself, could be. The images in this exhibition are imbued with recognizable art historical and cultural references—Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Piero della Francesca’s portrait of the Duke and Duchess d’Urbino, Surrealist trompe-l’œil imagery, and films such as Douglas Sirk’s All that Heaven Allows and Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
Yet, some works are also autobiographical, reflecting Morell’s relationship with his wife and her importance in his life and artistic practice. “While the subject of my work may be flowers, the photographs are also pictures about perspective, love, jealousy, hate, geometry, sex, life, the passage of time, and death,” says Morell.