Studio@620 The Studio@620

Rituals of Attention

The Art of Suzanne Williamson & Donald Morrill

Join photographer Suzanne Williamson and writer Donald Morrill for an evening devoted to the word and the image. Williamson will speak about her photographic project, Sacred Land and Shelter, which will be on display. In her intimate exploration of the American landscape, including Florida’s Indian mounds, she transforms what remains of our early history with a visionary eye. Morrill will read from Impetuous Sleeper, his new, “wild and exhilarating” nonfiction collection devoted to “looking at the world in all its ache and sublimity.”

Suzanne Williamson

Photographic artist Suzanne Williamson grew up in the northeast and lives in New York City and Tampa, Florida. She has received several fellowships to the pre-eminent artist colonies, MacDowell and Yaddo, and served on the Board of The MacDowell Colony.

Williamson received an award for her pictures of a Midwest drought, published in Ohio magazine. Her photographs, made primarily in black & white, are in museum and private collections, and have been published in American Archaeology, Harpers, Ohio Magazine and Texas Monthly. Currently Williamson is photographing remnants of early history in the Florida landscape for her series, Sacred Land and Shelter. The Photo Editor of ARTnews magazine until early 2008, Williamson also worked at The New Yorker and Newsweek magazines. Williamson has managed photography galleries and collections in New York City, and was part of a collective that launched a photographic exhibition of the events and our response to 9/11. The show was entitled “Here is New York,” was installed in downtown SoHo, and traveled in the U.S. and overseas. The show came to Tampa and was exhibited at International Plaza. This year Williamson was Director of the 2009 Self Employment in the Arts Conference, a regional artist-led event supporting arts entrepreneurship, held at The University of Tampa.

Artist Statement

Sacred Land and Shelter

I enter into stillness––following in the steps of expeditionary photographers and artists who sought to describe ancient places in the world. I travel the length of the eastern United States down to Florida––finding heaps of earth and shells that were sculpted into ceremonial mounds thousands of years ago. Some mounds are the size of football fields while others sprout hundred-year-old trees like bad hair. Tumbledown rock shelters with secret chambers face east to catch the first rays of morning sun. Prehistoric hunting parties warmed themselves inside as I do now.

I am on the ground. I climb inside. I walk to the top to see the world now and as I imagine it once was. I make pictures in black and white, because the absence of color is more ambiguous in time. The black and white images are like tracings on the paper. They pull together and break apart, persisting and disintegrating, just as the mounds and rocks do. What remains of our early history is transformed by the journey. 

Don Morrill

Donald Morrill is the author of four books of nonfiction, Impetuous Sleeper, The Untouched Minutes, Sounding for Cool  and A Stranger’s Neighborhood, as well as two volumes of poetry, At the Bottom of the Sky and With Your Back to Half the Day. His nonfiction and poetry have appeared in magazines and journals across the country, and in numerous anthologies, garnering several prizes, among them the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Award, the Emerging Writers of Creative Nonfiction Award from Duquesne University Press, the Mid-List Press First Series Award and The Missouri Review Editors’ Prize for Nonfiction. At the University of Tampa, he has been the recipient of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching Award, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Scholarship Award, and The Louise Loy Hunter Outstanding Faculty Award. He has taught American Literature and Culture at Jilin University, Peoples Republic of China, and he was a Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Lodz, Poland. Recently, he was the Bedell Visiting Writer in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He has served as a poetry editor of Tampa Review and the University of Tampa Press Poetry Series. For many years, he directed UT’s Writers at the University series. Currently, he is Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Tampa.

Impetuous Sleeper

In Impetuous Sleeper, Donald Morrill delights in extravagant kinships: the measured and the spontaneous, the elegant and the unabashed, the metaphysical and the earth-bound.  Reading these innovative essays (which include poetic aphorisms, character sketches, travel pieces, love-essays, odes and much more) I had the sensation of peering into an artist’s studio watching the magic of raw materials clarify and deepen before my eyes. The collection seems an extended study of the sentence’s hidden properties: its surprise modulations of thought, its shadings of emotion, its spacious or tensile delights (not at all surprising, since Morrill is a fine poet, as well as essayist.) Formal pleasures abound, but best of all, I felt accompanied by Morrill’s fully awake, alert and alive presence.      -- Lia Purpura, author of On Looking and Stone Sky Lifting

For information on how to purchase a copy of the book, please visit


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