William Morris

Mythic Master

Since he began his renowned glasswork career in 1979, William Morris has increasingly delved into mythological expressions of man's behavior and role in contemporary society. Of special interest to the artist has been our connectedness to a long and complex cultural evolution, which has been impossible for us to grasp save for a dim historic memory.

By creating fantastic artifacts that could belong to any era, but seemingly to none, Morris challenges our sensibilities and assumptions about our origins. In these compelling works, he confronts us with evocative universal symbols in magnificent blown glass. They are as intriguing to the cultural anthropologist as they are to the serious collector.

His new series, Man Adorned, is no exception. "The subject matter of my work comes from a deeper human unconsciousness, although no one sees it. It is from a timeless historical place," says Morris, who adds that he has "dreams about the things I create. It is all in the collective conscience of man. I am coming up with old metaphors that go way back.

"Man's origins in nature are expressed through our physical structure. Adornment illuminates ourselves to one another and enhances our distinctions," notes the Washington State--based artist, who explains that he "starts and stops my work by my seasons.

"I blow glass seven months a year, a process which sets me up physically to do my work. My mind is always filled with things to create," he says, adding that, "An idea is just the nucleus of the creative process.

"Any conscious idea is secondary to deeper inspirations. Ideas are pointers or signposts to a deeper understanding of things," Morris reveals.

Writing in the series-accompanying volume, William Morris: Man Adorned (Marquand Books, 2001), University of California Press editor Blake Edgar concurs. "Man Adorned marks a natural, logical step in Morris's artistic evolution. He continues his exploration of the themes of origin and myth that permeate all his work," Edgar notes.

"He has always interpreted episodes of the human saga, and each of these new figures stands as if ready to share his or her story--part of our collective story," he finds.

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