cover image William Morris: Mazorca, Objects of Uncommon Ceremony

William Morris: Mazorca, Objects of Uncommon Ceremony

James Yood, Isabel Allende, William Morris, , foreword by Isabelle Allende. . Marquand, $40 (152pp) ISBN 978-0-9744202-5-7

This sumptuous catalogue depicts recent blown-glass works by the glass and bronze sculptor William Morris, which have been crafted to resemble artifacts from a fictive, hybridized, ancient non-Western culture. Exhibited in collections from 2002 to 2004, these inscrutable idols, masks, figurines, rattles, vases, urns and beads are inspired by the Mesoamerican and Andean peoples of Central and South America, as Yood (William Morris: Animal/Artifact ) explains in the essay that accompanies the 135 color illustrations. Close-up photographs reveal detailed texture, brilliant color and expressive body language in the statuettes. Morris's series of idols are especially evocative. A few of them suggest patient suppliants: a crouching figure, his knees drawn up under a yellow tunic, bows his head and cups a small vase like an offering or a receptacle for rain. Other idols seem more fearful than prayerful. Two orange figures with black hair wrap their arms around each other, as if before the mercy of a terrifyingly powerful force. Another black-veined yellow figure with horns sprouting from his head sits with his arms—perhaps bound—straining behind him. While Morris handles themes of spirituality and nature, his art—drawn from pre-Columbian cultures destroyed by Europeans—is also powerfully elegiac. (Oct.)