Clear, Deep, Dark: Julie Morel
Curated by Amy Mackie
November 9 – December 14, 2018
Opening reception November 9, 6:00 – 9:00pm
The Engine Room
2809 N. Robertson St.
Saturday, December 8 12:00pm-5:00pm
Clear, Deep, Dark, an exhibition by Julie Morel, offers multiple points of entry and nuanced layers of meaning. The title is primarily a reference to the Internet, the Deep Web, and the Darknet, though it also alludes to ecosystems, topographies, and genetics. Morel works in a wide-range of mediums: bookmaking, collage, drawing, installation, printmaking, and video. She also uses a diversity of materials including clay, conductive ink, hair, light, and word-based text. She habitually refers to her practice using the acronym, AFK or “away from keyboard.” It is a term most often used in the online gaming world, but here it is a prompt for works in the exhibition that may appear to be invisible or that reside on several platforms simultaneously. For Morel, AFK serves as “an analogy between the textual message of absence and a new condition of objects produced within a framework of an artistic practice developed after the emergence of the Internet.” It is an attempt for the virtual to be materialized into an object and yet disconnected from its source.
This exhibition can be understood through three overarching, yet interconnected themes—work related directly to the exhibition’s title, Clear, Deep, Dark; experimental and in-progress works that utilize hair; and works that involve data gathering. Using drawing, text, and LED lights to relay GPS coordinates or IP addresses, one series of work provides numerical codes for objects or ideas that exist in real time other places. The use of synthetic hair, devoid of genetic coding, serves as a physical representation of the virtual for Morel’s latest body of work. It is a new material for Morel and through it she seems to have found the perfect conduit for her ideas around presence and absence. Other works in the exhibition embrace or critique technology for both its nefarious and practical uses, as in Reloaded(2017), which contains a black-market gun vendor address printed on an appropriated poster by artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
The large wall drawing/installation, DataIsland Mapping (2012) and the video One Thousand Love Songs (2015), can both be seen as ways to understand the human condition through the dehumanizing reorganization of facts. The wall drawing additionally imparts oblique, yet direct references to the disappearance of land mass. In this case, Clipperton Island, an uninhabited coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean that is owned by France. The GPS coordinates previously mentioned, also point to a location where the rapidly receding coastline of Southeast Louisiana is explicitly evident. Morel’s embrace of conceptual art is abundantly apparent throughout her practice, though she consistently beguiles the viewer through work that is surprisingly sensual and beautifully crafted. This allows her to lead us into the uncomfortable solidarity of the unknown, where slippage of meaning and dislocation replaces the familiar.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in Lyon (France) in 1973.
Julie Morel is an interdisciplinary artist from Lyon, France who lives between New Orleans and France. Her work often refers to the history of Conceptual art and plays with text in its written and visual forms. Morel explores the intersection of contemporary and digital art, often focusing on the Internet as a place, object, and medium for creation. Her practice includes installations, online projects, artist books and publications, drawings, and videos. She has explored various written fields, such as literature, translation, computer code, meta-language, and musical scores.
Morel has exhibited her work internationally in both institutional and alternative spaces, such as the Pompidou Centre, Glasgow Sculpture Studio, Neuchâtel Art Centre, White Space Zürich, and Le bon accueil Rennes. In the United States, she has shown her work at the Basekamp Gallery Philadelphia and the Contemporary Art Center New Orleans. She was a 2016 recipient of the Villa Medicis Hors les Murs Grant (New York & Chicago), a 2016 Fulbright Scholar in Residence at Loyola University, New Orleans, and a 2017 invited artist at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Since 2004, she has taught studio practice at the École Européene Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Amy Mackie is a curator and writer based in New Orleans. Since 2013, she has served as the Director of PARSE NOLA, a nonprofit curatorial and research-based residency and art program in New Orleans. From 2011 to 2012 she was the Director of Visual Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans and from 2007 to 2010, Curatorial Associate at the New Museum in New York. She curated numerous exhibitions at both institutions. As an independent curator, she curated “It Could Go Either Way: Mariam Ghani + Erin Ellen Kelly” at Rogaland Kunstsenter in Stavanger, Norway in 2014 and at the Anchorage Museum in Anchorage, Alaska in 2015. Mackie was the recipient of a 2013 Curatorial Fellowship from the Stavanger Municipality Culture Department in Norway, a 2010 Research Fellowship at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, England to research the work of Helen Chadwick, and a 2009 CEC Artslink Grant to produce a series of performances and an exhibition with A.L. Steiner + robbinschilds in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has written for Art in America, Art Papers, FANTOM Photographic Quarterly, Pelican Bomb, Universes in Universe, as well as many exhibition catalogs and books. Mackie holds a M.A. in curatorial studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College and a B.A. in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College.