U.Va. Studio Art Department Screens 'The Shadow of the House: Photographer Abelardo Morell' on Feb. 9

January 28, 2009

January 27, 2009 — The University of Virginia Studio Art Department will screen "Shadow of the House: Photographer Abelardo Morell," on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153.The film follows Morell, an internationally renowned photographer, over the course of seven years and captures with deceptive simplicity and grace the daily life of the working artist.

Filmmaker Allie Humenuk looks closely at the unique process of this inventive Boston artist, whether he is photographing ordinary household objects, glass sculptures constructed of light bulbs and chemistry flasks, or making camera obscura photographs in which he creates an ambiguous marriage of interior environment and outside world.

Humenuk's portrait of the artist reveals deep trust between subject and filmmaker, as well as the creative inspiration she draws from Morell's vision.

Both Humenuk and Morell will attend the event, which is free and open to the public.

Bo Smith, former director of film programs at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and now executive director of the Denver Film Society, said, "It's one of the best films I've seen on an artist and the artistic process."

While the view of Morell's body of work and artistic process is indeed revelatory, the intimate look at his personal life is the heart of the film. Though he now lives and teaches in Massachusetts, Morell was born in Cuba, fleeing that country with his family as a child when his father's life was threatened by the Castro regime.

Forty years later, despite Morell's deep personal doubts and parental disapproval, Humenuk traveled with him back to Cuba, where he reconnected with the extended family and the homeland he left behind. Morell's mixed feelings about nationhood, heritage and identity are reflected in his own delayed U.S. citizenship ceremony, a heartfelt event subtly captured in the film.

In describing their time together, Humenuk said, "We sat together and waited for the shutter release of a long exposure. I saw him carefully examining tiny details around him. Sometimes he took all day to transform what he saw to make one photograph. I came to understand that these observations were what kept him going day after day and how he needs art to make his way in the world."
For information, contact William Wylie at 434-924-6132 or ww9b@virginia.edu.