By Megan Chapa
James Surls, the American Modern artist and SHSU alum, opened a show at the Wynne Home Arts Center on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The event attracted more than 100 visitors, with the opening reception sponsored by the Friends of the Wynne and staffed by the LEAP Ambassadors.
“Wynne Home exhibit openings are always fun,” noted LEAP President Alejandra Galvan, “but this one, involving James Surls, was a special honor.”
It was a sentiment shared by many of those who attended the opening reception.
James Surls graduated from SHSU in 1965 with his Bachelors in Arts, and from Cranbrook Academy of Art with his MFA in 1968. His distinctive style, often marked by wooden or bronze flower petals, is often described as “organic.”
Included in the Wynne Home exhibit was a combination of Surls’ sculptures and sketches, both of which elicited praise from the opening night’s visitors.
“We have seen Surls’ work at many museums,” noted LEAP Ambassador Megan Chapa, “but we haven’t seen his smaller pieces, and we have never had the chance to meet him, so this was nice!”
Surls was personable, speaking for about 15 minutes and explaining some of the pieces in the show. He divided them into feminine and masculine pieces, with the feminine pieces being more curved; the masculine pieces being more angular. He also spoke of his love for his wife, and how it has impacted his art.
Following his discussion, Mr. Surls was nice enough to sign some photos of his work that we brought to the show. He graciously did so, while chatting comfortably with us.
The exhibit will stay up for six months, twice the usual length of a show. In the past, the Wynne Home has had exhibits featuring David Adickes, Jesus Moroles, Ken Zonker, and Stanley Lea.
The Wynne Home also offers art classes to the public in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. The classes include topics as diverse as classic film, salsa dancing, oil painting, and cooking. The Wynne Home is open Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free.
The LEAP Ambassadors would like to thank Wynne Home Director Linda Pease, Friends of the Wynne President Nancy Gaertner, Friends of the Wynne Vice President Genevive Brown, and the entire Friends of the Wynne board for the opportunity to assist. And, of course, we’d like to thank Mr. James Surls for his art and for his appearance in Huntsville, Texas.