Works in the current show at Hawk Galleries look like artifacts from ancient times and civilizations – tusks, bones, skulls, tools, vessels, and bowls with hieroglyphics. But they’re all blown glass made in present times.
“William Morris: New Archival Treasures” presents 21 works by the renowned glass artist who retired at the age of 49 in 2007 to spend more time with his great love: nature. The “new” in the exhibit title refers to works just released for display from the artist’s collection.
All the works are glass, but are of such diverse form, style and subject they look to have been created by a group of artists, not just one.
“Burial Urn” (1991) is a gold, textured vase with a skull hidden inside. “Anasazi Pot with Crow” (1991) is a squat amber and brown bowl topped by a black crow, all blown glass.
The huge “Rope Bowl” (1987) is a horizontal, orange and yellow, wave-like vessel. There are two “Wall Panels” (2008, from the archives), each with an assemblage of blown glass animal heads, tusks, birds, beaks and tools.
Morris, said gallery owner Tom Hawk, “was able to make glass look like anything but glass – bone, leather, wood.”
In conjunction with the exhibit, Hawk Galleries is showing John Andres’ 2008 documentary “Creative Nature,” capturing Morris at work in the glass studio and in such outdoor pursuits as rock climbing and running.
“I need to have a more abrupt encounter with the natural world,” a bare-chested Morris says in the video.
Throughout his glass-blowing career, Morris was inspired by the wilderness, archaeology and ancient civilizations. Cave drawings adorn his three beautiful “Petroglyphic Vessels” (1987).
“Standing Stone,” referencing such prehistoric monuments as Stonehenge, is a tall vessel in shades of soft yellow and lilac created with the glass poured into a wooden mold that burned off. Works in the “Mazorca” series pay tribute to the importance of corn for ancient people.
Born in Carmel, Calif., in 1957, Morris became enamored of glass as a young man at the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington state. He drove a truck for Dale Chihuly, convincing the glass artist to let him work with him. In the 1980s, Morris began making his own glass works.
His art is included in the collections of international and American museums, including the Columbus Museum of Art. Thirteen years ago, Morris stopped blowing glass and sold his equipment. Today, he lives in Hawaii where he continues his outdoor adventures.
Hawk said that he was delighted that Morris’ “archival treasure chest was unlocked” —probably for one time only—and that pieces not seen before could be displayed.
In the exhibit catalog, Hawk writes, “Morris’ work continues to challenge the viewer, asking provocative questions about our priceless time on this earth and where we are culturally headed.”
At a glance
“William Morris: New Archival Treasures” continues through April 30 in Hawk Galleries, 153 E. Main St. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Call 614-225-9595 or visit www.hawkgalleries.com.