The Two of Us: James Surls and Charmaine Locke

July 13 – September 23
Sponsored by Chuck & Robbie Breaux and Mary & Dean Harris
Artist talk Saturday, Sep. 3 at 11am

The Art Center is collaborating with Colorado Mesa University on an exhibition of work by internationally-acclaimed artists James Surls and Charmaine Locke. They married in 1978 and moved from Texas to Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley in 1997. Locke and Surls have exhibited together several times, including at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Anderson Ranch (Snowmass Village), The Jung Center (Houston), and the National Art Museum of China (Beijing).

This exhibition takes place simultaneously at the Art Center and at CMU’s art gallery (437 Colorado Avenue). Both spaces feature sculpture and drawing by Locke and by Surls. A special, online-only edition of Art Matters with images and scholarly essays is available on the Art Center’s website (below) as a catalog of the exhibition.

Both artists’ work is laden with symbolism yet maintains a literal openness. This quality often acts as the first layer to the viewer’s experience. Whether due to the sheer size of some of their artwork or the human traces embedded in the materials—irregular carvings in wood, modeling in bronze—the initial impression is often one of a sentient presence, with deeper meanings to be gleaned upon further visual exchange. Surls is heavily influenced by Surrealism, particularly Mexican Surrealists like José Clemente Orozco. Several of his pieces fixate on the masculine/feminine dichotomy and its potential for falseness. Locke studied psychology before turning to art; a series of portraits featured in the exhibition portray internal states ranging from peace to anguish, while a series of sculptures depict how internal energies and outward environmental concerns intersect.


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