Lawrence Morrell

Lawrence MorrellLawrence Morrell was born in Portland Oregon in 1958. He showed a strong, early affinity for art and music and was encouraged by his parents, who were both musicians. His earliest sculptural interests were in clay and he created large, wheel thrown sculptures during his high school years. In 1976 he began studying art at the University of Oregon where he created bas relief and cast clay sculptures that foreshadowed his later work in glass. In 1980 he moved to New York City and began sculpting primarily with glass. He collaborated with other artists creating the etched glass windows for the landmark Delmonico’s Restaurant and for the White Horse Tavern in lower Manhattan. In 1984 he collaborated with others to create the New York Vietnam Veterans War Memorial, in carved, illuminated glass. He was interviewed on National Public Television on The McNeil Lehrer News Hour about the experience.
After the Memorial commission, Morrell started his own art studio in New York creating sculptures for Cartier, Morgan Stanley, Chase Manhattan, Petrossian’s Caviar and a two story glass sculpture for the facade of the Millennium Hotel at Times Square. With these experiences, he was invited to exhibit his abstract glass sculptures in several New York Lawrence Morrellgalleries. In 1995 he moved to the vibrant West Coast art glass community in Portland, Oregon and began to use his artwork to explore the way light is transmitted through glass. In 2000, inspired by the lush, botanical diversity of Oregon, he created a glowing, carved glass staircase. The transparent steps were hollowed out with a pine tree branch and needle motif and filled with thousands of illuminated fiber-optic strands that softly undulate with color.
On the West Coast he has been commissioned by VISA International, The Port of Portland and The Portland Center for the Performing Arts, where he created “The Elements of Matter” in 2001. This horizontal, 30 foot long, interactively illuminated glass sculpture is carved with spiral motifs inspired by research images from the CERN Large Hadron Collider where atoms were smashed at near light speeds to reveal new atomic particles and a completely new interpretation of the physical world.
Currently, Morrell’s artistic focus has been on sculptures in carved glass and steel using active illumination. He is fascinated by the new science of synthetic biology and creates Lawrence Morrellwork that references the way scientists are deconstructing biological organisms and reassembling them into new and synthetic life forms. In his latest body of work entitled “Bioengineered Organisms”, Morrell takes apart intricate images from biological research and the molecular world and reassembles them into his vision of newly created organisms. He then carves these two dimensional drawings into three dimensions in layers of heat worked glass. Morrell’s sculptures explores the intersection between society’s need to protect the natural world and the scientist’s desire to usefully modify it, thereby enabling us to survive and prosper despite the cataclysmic effects of our species on this planet.
Morrell is currently exhibiting at the United States Embassy in Doha, Qatar as a part of the Art in Embassies program and has taught art in Switzerland and New Zealand. His sculptures and art installations are collected nationally and internationally. The elegance of the nearly invisible world of molecular biology defines Morrell’s artwork. HisLawrence Morrell innovative sculptures describe reimagined life forms in luminous and intricately textured glass. He is preoccupied by the new science of synthetic biology. Similar to the way scientists may reengineer an organism’s function by rearranging its genetic structure, Morrell uses computer software to reorganize images from the natural world to use in his work. His fused and carved glass sculptures are informed by these images, describing a refined surface of dense, organic textures in this very solid yet translucent material.
Morrell was born in Oregon and spent 15 years in New York City creating sculptures for Cartier, Saks 5th Ave. and a two story glass facade for the Milennium at Times Square Hotel. Collaborating with other artists, he created the New York Vietnam Veterans War Memorial in carved, illuminated glass. He was interviewed on National Public Television on The McNeil Lehrer News Hour about the experience. In 1995 he moved to the vibrant West Coast art glass community in Portland, Oregon, creating sculptures for VISA International and an actively illuminated, 30 foot long horizontal sculpture for The Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Inspired by the lush, botanical diversity of Oregon, he created a glowing, spiral glass staircase. The transparent steps were hollowed out with a pine tree branch and needle motif and filled with thousands of illuminated fiber-optic strands that softly undulate with color.
His unique artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally and he is currently Lawrence Morrellshowing in Switzerland and at the US Embassy in Qatar as a part of the Art in Embassies Program. Here is what art critics are saying about Morrell’s artwork: “…Lawrence Morrell’s mesmerizing glass sculpture, Chameleon I, stands out. Morrell’s abstracted plant-cell structures are illuminated via LED lights that shift between green, pink and electric blue. The artist is at an interesting point in his career, as his work is at a cross-roads of geeky, gee-whiz romanticism and the equally gee-whiz but more academically rarefied California light-and-space school, as exemplified by Robert Irwin (and James Turrell… In pieces like this, Morrell proves he has the chops to rise above the curb appeal of “Ooh” and “Ahh!” without rejecting the visceral thrills of sheer optical pleasure” Richard Speer, art critic for the Willamette Week Newspaper.

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