In Hilda Morris’ obituary, Oregonian art reviewer Barry Johnson wrote, “it’s hard to think of Ring of Time as being created by anyone. Like much of the work by Morris, it seems more found than created, as though some particularly wise and lucky archeologist or geologist had rescued it, undamaged and spirit intact, from the past. Her bronze is craggy, spiraling roughly in on itself, and it is pocked with a series of openings that allow space to seep into the broad curves at the bottom.”

In the outdoor foyer of the Standard Plaza at 1100 SW Sixth Avenue (west of the Portland Building), I gauge it at 11 feet high by 12 feet wide and four feet deep.

Morris’ small sculptures and paintings are repped by Laura Russo and Foster White in Seattle – her resume. Donald Jenkins considered her a master of sumi brush painting.

D K Row at The Oregonian wrote, “The late Morris was the greatest Oregon sculptor of her time, though she’s virtually unknown to the current generation of Portlanders. The twisting bronze “O” shape epitomizes the expressionism and love of natural forms that defined most of Morris’ work. Of course, it’s easy to appreciate Ring strictly as a stand-alone object. But its real value may be as a symbol of human engagement for those passing through the Standard building. Morris’ torquing bronze form, reputedly inspired by the Mobius strip, is a gesture of almost mystical delight at the entrance of this impressive yet constipated piece of modernist architecture. Read the Standard’s strange, M.C. Escher-like motto engraved on a nearby wall — “The Will to Achieve The Will to Achieve The Will to Achieve” — and Morris’ winding “O” shape assumes greater and more touching dimension: a reminder to stay human in the machine and computer age.”

Born Hilda Grossman, in 1940 she married Carl Morris, known for his WPA work at the Eugene Post Office and later for stormy dark abstracts. Ring of Time is one of her largest public sculptures (Winter Column now matches the new Lichtenstein in front of the Mark Building). After a long career making art, raising a family and teaching artists in Oregon, she died in 1991 at 79 years old.


Separated at birth?

Which came first, the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever,” on the left and written by the incomparable Harlan Ellison, or Hilda Morris’ Ring of Time on the right?

Ellison’s Star Trek – first aired 1967.
Morris’ Ring of Time – installed 1977.

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