Bill Worrell’s career spans more than three decades.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with a minor in English from Texas Tech University as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing with a minor in sculpture from the University of North Texas.
During the two decades he spent teaching college and university, he held a doctoral fellowship at the University of North Texas, was Associate Professor of Art at Odessa College, and was Professor of Art at Houston Baptist University. He taught classes in sculpture, ceramics, art appreciation, jewelry, painting, and drawing.
Worrell has a hugely successful career as sculptor and painter, working in multiple mediums. Inspired by the ancient pictographs of the region, found along the confluence of the Lower Pecos River with the Rio Grande along the border of Texas and Mexico, Worrell creates modern interpretations of these primal, visual stories
His work is included in galleries and collections across the United States, as well as in private and corporate collections worldwide. He’s been a featured artist in hundreds of shows and exhibitions. His monumental bronze entitled “The Maker of Peace” is owned by the State of Texas and overlooks the ancient Fate Bell rock shelter at Seminole Canyon State Historical Park.
Bill Worrell made his Santa Fe art debut in 1986 at the C. G. Rein Gallery. In 1989, Worrell affiliated with the Frank Howell Gallery and the Contemporary Southwest Galleries, both owned by Frank Howell. After Howell’s death in 1997, a new owner operated the gallery until his death in 2010. In 2011, Jay and Mary Adams acquired this space on the corner of Palace Avenue and Washington Street and opened it as the Worrell Gallery.
Worrell says he is energized by the elements in life that surround him. He maintains two studios, one in Santa Fe and one in Texas. He says that his studio on the banks of the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country is a synthesis of New Mexico and Texas, inspired by his life-long passion for archeology.
I spoke to Bill over the phone recently, as he drove from Texas to Santa Fe, and again after he had arrived here in The Land Of Enchantment. He was warm, friendly and happy to talk about his reunion with Michael McCormick, with whom he had shown three decades ago, before leaving.
“You know I’ve always liked Michael,” he told me. “So it was never personal,” he emphasized, “I think maybe sales were down or I felt spread too thin at the time,” he recalled.
I asked why he has decided to include his work in the McCormick Gallery at this time.
“I always stayed in touch with Michael,” he replied. “Whenever I came through Taos, I’d stop by so when Michael called and told me about Malcolm Furlow’s new-found Spiritual direction and that he was the featured artist at the gallery during Indian Market, and asked whether I’d send a bronze cross to include in the exhibit, I sent one and a couple of paintings .”
“It’s an informal inclusion.” He chuckled, clearly okay with it, if not downright pleased.
Michael’s collection of Frank Howell pieces keep Bill Worrell in good company, notwithstanding the long friendship between he and Michael.
I asked him if he still felt inspired by Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico in general (a Texas native with deep roots in that State, Bill still divides his time between here and there), and he answered affirmatively.
“I fell in love with New Mexico when I first came here and have not fallen out of love.”
“All my life I wanted to be an artist,” he told me, “I became an Academic so I could fully immerse myself in the world of art, but after coming here, I was able to leave that (teaching), behind and make art full time.”
“Santa Fe is such a great place.” He said. “It’s certainly been good to me.”
For more on Bill Worrell, please visit the Michael McCormick Gallery site linked below this post.
All images thanks to Bill Worrell and Michael McCormick