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Joy's Cistern

William Daley (American, 1925–2022)

Joy’s Cistern is representative of Daley’s latest exploration with vesica forms and his fixation with sacred geometries. The vesica is an ovoid shape that results from the intersection of two circles and is also an ancient icon that informs the mystery of “two as a new one.” Daley’s low, shapely vessel conjures themes of containment, rebirth, and renewal. Channels run throughout, likening the cistern to a womb and underscoring that water is necessary for life. The animated and geometric face-like arrangement on the underbelly invites the viewer to notice the relationship between the interior and exterior, a feature often found in Daley’s work.

The artist pounded the outer rim of Joy’s Cistern with a meat tenderizer to emphasize the importance of texture and to further contrast the outer and inner spaces of the pot. Although this vessel is far from functional in the traditional sense, it does have a purpose. For Daley, vesicas are a form of meditation and are space holders for our thoughts, desires, and spirituality.

Object Details

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