William Morris, “Selections from the Artist’s Archive”
It is rare that an artist has the opportunity to change the history of art, let alone during their lifetime. Beginning in the 1970’s when William Morris worked as Dale Chihuly’s gaffer to his retirement from blowing glass in 2007, he has been a major player for over three decades in the studio glass movement. He approached the medium with a unique vision, one that wasn’t dependent on solely achieving beauty. Rather Morris took glass down a different path than his predecessors, one that embraced the ability of the material to transform into wood, bone, fiber and sinew- objects that appear as if they have been unearthed as part of the archaeological record. Viewer’s often pose similar questions about these contemporary sculptures as they would about the ancient objects that inspired them. How was it used? How was it made? What is it? Much of the power of the art created by William Morris resides in this element of mystery. By tapping into the psychic unity or collective unconsciousness shared among all people regardless of where or when they lived, Morris attempted to harness a universal energy. This inspiration guided his work, as he strove to create new forms that did not already exist but yet were sprung from the mindset of the specific people or cultures that captivated him. Numerous artists have attempted to follow the path laid out by Morris, but he is unique not only for his vision but the exceptional technical ability displayed by the artist and his team.
During his active career, William Morris created a number of significant sculptures that were deemed to be pivotal to his career. Some of these works were archived- secreted away to be released at a later date. This exhibition at Abmeyer + Wood Fine Art (Seattle) will feature 27 sculptures in total including 20 pieces drawn from the artist’s personal archive that may have been featured in books or museum exhibitions, but are newly released onto the art market. Abmeyer + Wood is honored and excited to have the opportunity to share these important sculptures, including the largest installation of Morris blown glass (the Mazorca Installation) available anywhere in the world. William Morris’ sculptures can be found in many museum collections around the world. A short list includes the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Musée des Arts Decoratifs (Paris), Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute (Washington DC), and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London).
Abmeyer + Wood Fine Art, Seattle – October 6th – November 26th, 2016