Amadeo Morelos has been fascinated by the artistic process since childhood.
Particularly interested in sculpture and clay figures, at the age of seventeen the artist visited a foundry in Morelia. There he learnt the intricacies of lost wax bronze casting and further developed his interest in the arts. Today, Morelos is renowned for his vibrant works inspired by mythology, nuanced complexities of the human state and personal narratives.
In a continuation of the thematics explored in his solo exhibition at Unit London, titled Providence (2021), this series similarly features subjects in conflict with their natural surroundings. The subjects of these stories are engulfed in emerald green foliage; appearing as gold statues they seem enthralled in interplay with various jungle habitants. The animals and plants that the figures interact with are reminiscent of Morelos’ garden at his Mexican home. The artist explains how inserting certain aspects of his daily life allows for the compositions to assume a more relatable reading.
Sunrise at the Port
Blue bird, flowers and opals
Eagle and worm on a sunny day
Executed in oils, this body of work is alive with pure colour and rich texture.
Morelos’ works display distinctive and confident brushwork creating a rhythmic pattern of longer, more isolated strokes that are contrasted with the smoother execution of the figures themselves. Painted with round gestural strokes of yellow and ochre, the figures add an energetic and kaleidoscopic feel to a composition that might appear uncomfortably compact.
Often the iconography in Morelos’ work is one that originates from Greek mythology, much like the present painting Arete. Originally told by the sophist Prodicus in the 5th century BC, Arete was part of the story of Hercules, a tale later known as “The Choice of Hercules”.
Appearing as a young maiden in the hero’s early life, the goddess Arete urged Hercules to follow her path, though it would be one of struggle and hardship it would lead him to true happiness. Arete implored the hero not to succumb to her counterpart Kakia or “vice” who offered him wealth and pleasure. This narrative is reflected in Morelos’ work, as the ethereal goddess tramps the evil snake, while directing the viewer’s attention towards the sun, alluding to Hercules’ stoic choice of following the path of “virtue”.
By bringing together mythological narratives and our contemporary reality, Morelos comments on the self-indulging idea of being “the main character” of your life while also suggesting parallels between the two, as each viewer undoubtedly relates to the hero’s plight of overcoming obstacles while choosing a more righteous personal journey.
About the Artist
Born in Morelia, México in 1992, Amadeo Morelos is a multidisciplinary artist with an emphasis on painting and drawing.
He received a BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 after which he and Chris Capoyianes co-founded and directed Geendoor (2017–2018), an exhibition space where they curated shows for emerging and establish artists from the Chicago area. Solos and group shows include PLHK in Chicago, Comfort Station in Chicago, The Chicago Show in Brooklyn, New York, Heaven Gallery in Chicago, and y Palacio Clavijero in Morelia, Mexico. His work has been published in New American Paintings, ArtMaze and The Chicago Times, as well as online publications such as Artnet and ARTnews, among others. Morelos is an MFA candidate at Columbia University in New York, expected to graduate in 2023.
Forests for Monarchs, Mexico
Since the late 1990s, the monarch butterfly population has fallen dramatically due to loss of winter habitat in the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico. Forests for Monarchs have initiated a program, called La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, that reforests land in and around the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, where millions of monarchs spend each winter. The conservation and restoration of crucial forest land supports the long-term survival of the monarch butterfly. To do that, the organisation reforests not only the Monarch Biosphere Reserve but also any badly degraded land owned by indigenous communities, ejidos and farmers.