James Surls

Rice University
> James Surls

 Surls1James Surls 

Again, the Tree, Knot, Flower, and Me, 2009
Patinaed bronze and stainless steel
Herring Hall Lawn

Gift of the Milus E. Hindman and Mason Matthews, Jr. Fund

As with many of Surls’ pieces, Again, the Tree, Knot, Flower, and Me cuts to the heart of the complex nature of the human psyche. Surls uses his often-implemented flower motif to represent the beautiful, soft side of humanity, while the bare branches portray the starker realities of existence. In the middle, the Knot displays the human mind itself (Me) and all the complexity that resides therein. The Tree incorporates the natural world; its trunk is a cast of a tree located at Surls’ home in Colorado.

About the Artist:  Born in East Texas, James Surls has long been held as a formidable artist and dynamic art educator. He earned a B.S. at Sam Houston State College, and an M.F.A. at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Surls' artistic output ranges from pencil drawings and prints to monumental steel and bronze sculptures. Early in his career he taught at Southern Methodist University, and he continues to lecture about art around the country. He has been at the forefront of the contemporary sculpture scene for decades and has exhibited at the Whitney Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as numerous international venues and dozens of Texas museums. His works are in the collections of major museums including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. He is the recipient of Texas Artist of the Year Award and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship, and is also one of the original founders of the Lawndale Alternative Space for art in Houston, Texas.  Surls currently resides in Carbondale, Colorado.  



James Surls Surls2 

Walking Molecular Flower, 2008
Powder coated steel
BioScience Research Collaborative Plaza

Capital Building Fund Purchase

Walking Molecular Flower combines Surls’ typical flower motifs with a dynamic molecule formation. The sculpture seems to be perched on the plaza, almost in motion, juxtaposing symbols of nature and human beings with their essential, molecular building blocks. Walking Molecular Flower's biomorphic themes are especially suited to its location outside the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) building and the adjacent Medical Center.