William Morris’ artifacts have a sense of timeless myth and mystery, and the artist himself remains a central figure in the world of glass sculpture despite his retirement in 2007. At that time, several of his pieces were archived for later release and now Abmeyer+Wood is presenting some of them, many of which are museum quality and have never before been available for sale or publicly viewed.
The archived works span over twenty years, documenting Morris’ consistent but fluid aesthetic. Two earlier pieces, the Stone Vessel and the Petroglyph Vessel, are reminiscent of Dale Chihuly, for whom Morris worked as gaffer at the beginning of his career, but even these pieces reveal Morris’ fascination and respect for historiography and the human need to create and document symbols. Morris’ ability to construct objects that mimic a sense of historiography without explicitly copying actual archeological forms creates a unique but recognizable sense of narrative, incorporating both ancient and modern idioms, heavily influenced by Native American cultures.
Morris’ Trophy Panel on display in the window of Abmeyer+Wood exemplifies Morris’ aforementioned ability to reconstruct historical content and render glass that remarkably resembles bone, wood and other organic materials. Meanwhile, pieces like Burial Relief and Burial Urn exhibit the stunning juxtaposition often seen in Morris’ work—the delicacy of blown glass and a macabre subject matter. The crystalline film of Burial Urn that fades into opacity lends itself to both concealing and exposing the skulls and bones that rest within.
The individual pieces by William Morris at Abmeyer+Wood are each beautiful examples of the artist’s craftsmanship and merit, and taken together they offer stellar range of content. Many of these pieces are soon to be scooped up by collectors and museums, making this Archive Show something historic in itself.