One Fine Show: Delcy Morelos’ ‘Interwoven’ at Pulitzer Art Foundation

Welcome to One Fine Show, where Observer highlights a recently opened exhibition at a museum outside of New York City—a place we know and love that already receives plenty of attention.

Room divider screens that look like dirty air filters
Delcy Morelos, ‘Earthly Weaving,’ 2023–24; Soil, cinnamon, cloves, hay, bricks, iron oxide, and acrylic binder on steel; Dimensions variable. © Delcy Morelos / Photo: Alise O'Brien Photography

This column is explicitly not about New York, but if you happen to be in New York please run, don’t walk, to see Delcy Morelos’s incredible exhibition at Dia Chelsea if you haven’t already. The showstopper there is El abrazo (The Embrace) (2023) a giant structure made of soil with a cleft in the middle so that you can wander through that titular hug from Mother Earth, smelling the cinnamon and clove that has been generously mixed in alongside well-positioned straw. Rooted in studies of Andean and Amazonian rituals aimed at connecting humans to the planet, the work is almost disturbingly pacific and an achievement sure to put Morelos (b.1967) on the radars of any critics who’d managed to overlook her.

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A new show at St. Louis’ Pulitzer Art Foundation should also further that goal. “Delcy Morelos: Interwoven” pairs the artist’s earthworks with her earlier artistic output, bringing together some thirty drawings, paintings and sculptures made by the Bogotá-based artist in the last 30 years.

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This entails engaging more with the strife of Colombia’s recent history, and in this context, the ground’s embrace takes on darker meanings. Morelos has said that the majority of her life has existed “on the brink between life and death” and this liminality can be seen throughout her career as well. Take her painting series La doble negación, (Double Negation), in which she weaves cotton threads into fabric, which she then paints with layers of acrylic until the work is painting, sculpture and fabric all at once, the frozen folds making it appear supple when it is in reality firm.

Reaching even further back, the show features previously unseen drawings by Morelos in ink that seem to mimic the rhythms of nature. The earliest of these is from 1998 and it scatters joined dots across the paper in a way that feels like it might reflect the Golden Ratio. Other drawings feel like veins on a leaf or a spider’s web, the liminality here being between the grown world and the one built by human hands. Her paintings Espacios concentrados (Concentrated Fields) (2002) and Obstáculo (Obstacle) (2008) play in this area too, as they resemble from above a topographic map manipulated by unseen forces, perhaps war or magnets.

There’s new work here in Interwoven, an earthwork commission by Pulitzer that has Morelos mixing her spice blend into soil that is locally sourced, as with the piece at Dia. Here it’s caked on eight-foot high wire fencing, a reminder that the land will always be able to absorb the designs of humanity, along with the rest of us.

Delcy Morelos: Interwoven” is on view at Pulitzer Art Foundation through August 4.

One Fine Show: Delcy Morelos’ ‘Interwoven’ at Pulitzer Art Foundation