James Surls - Me, Tree, Black Flower and Knot

James Surls

James Surls is an internationally renowned artist known for creating monumental wood and metal sculptures. Based on natural forms, the artist creates sophisticated imagery of diamonds, vortexes, needles and flowers, using wood, steel and bronze. His sculptural pieces consist of needles or branches radiating from a core. To Surls, this symbolizes growth. “It’s organic,” says Surls, “and organic to me means it has a growth pattern – it develops from the inside out. It’s a seed; it’s a bulb. And that’s true if you’re a flower, a seashell. It’s an inside-out growth pattern.”

Many of Surls’ sculptures are influenced by the East Texas landscape of Splendora, Texas where he was raised. Two works featured in this exhibition have strong connections to this wooded area of Texas: Head and Hoof (2006) and Me, Tree, Black Flower and Knot (2006). In both work, Surls uses blue spruce roots he found in a nearby lake. In Head and Hoof, Surls uses the tree root as a detached leg of a horse, and from it large and small flowers emerge. In Me, Tree, Black Flower and Knot, the tree root serves as an anchor to a forest of metal branches and a large black flower.