By Madison Miller
Although sculpting and painting are different forms of art, two artists prove that they can have a common thread: nature.
Artists James Surls and Lilian Garcia-Roig have brought pieces of their collections to Baylor to be viewed by art enthusiasts from all over Central Texas. All of the pieces, which are on display in the Martin Museum of Art, were inspired by the outdoors.
Jennifer Spry, the education coordinator for the Martin Museum of Art, wants the Waco and Baylor community to have to opportunity to view these two artists’ work.
“We really do want everyone – whether they are Baylor faculty, staff, students, part of the community, their families,” Spry said. “We really want to be a place people feel that they can come in and enjoy it.”
Garcia-Roig, a Texas native who now lives in Tallahassee, Fla., said she has a knack for breaking the traditional art rules.
“I do not paint what normally you would do – which is the background and the middle ground and then what is in the foreground,” Garcia-Roig said. “I just start putting marks and lines in different ways.”
When Garcia-Roig is working on projects, she spends at least two days immersing herself in the environment to help her truly get the feeling of what she is painting.
“I do all of my paintings on-site,” Garcia-Roig said. “They are all done outside.”
Garcia-Roig lived in Houston, Dallas, Austin and many other Texas cities, and moved to Florida to take a teaching job at Florida State University.
Garcia-Roig said she uses nature as her subject. She stays in the outdoors for hours upon hours to watch the light change and how it changes the environment’s colors.
“I’ve been interested in not so much landscape as a subject, but the idea of working with a subject that is complicated and dense enough, and one that changes over time,” Garcia-Roig said.
One of her favorite places to paint is in Texas’ Lost Maples State Park on the outskirts of San Antonio.
“I tend to like places that have a broader variety of what is in the region,” Garcia-Roig said. “A lot of it also depends on the time of year.”
While both artists draw from nature, Surls, also a Texas native who now lives in Carbondale, Colo., is also motivated by his family and friends and intertwines the two in his work.
“I get my inspiration from trees, rivers, rocks, mountains, pastures,” Surls said. “I am given to the romantic nature of humankind.”
For Surls, sculpting is his forte. Growing up, he did not have access to traditional sculpting tools. He was forced to make do with what was available to him in his father’s toolbox. He had a certain affinity for the hatchet and it is still his tool of choice today.
“I never called it art,” Surls said. “I was good at making things and I got a lot of psychological reward for the things that I made.”
Surls made other things besides sculptures. They included wagons and stick horses that he rode until it became embarrassing for his family, he said.
He recalled chopping down an oak tree with his older brother at the age of 4 and his father telling him it was a good thing instead of scolding him.
Surls said he chose each piece for the show based on the meaning behind the sculptures.
“I try to make all of the work fit together within a certain thematic context,” Surls said. “I feel very, very good about the work. I think one of the nice things about our position is, since we are around them for so long, we end up really liking all of them.”
Surls will give a gallery talk about his exhibit from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 13, in the Martin Museum of Art.