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Artists To Discuss Visual Art In Performing Arts Center

Jan. 25, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

The sculpture, "Around the Flower Wall," is one of the pieces in the PAC by artist James Surls.

Four artists who have been recognized for their ability to express their messages through art, and who have left their creative thumbprints on Sam Houston State University, will discuss their “Artful Inspirations” on Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Lobby.  

Noted artists Jason Lawson, Joe Aker, Kathleen Ash and James Surls will talk in particular about their art on display in the Performing Arts Center during a reception hosted by SHSU’s new College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication.  The event is open to the public.

“At the grand opening of the center last fall, we featured the performing arts — theatre, dance, music,” said Dana Nicolay, acting dean of the college. “But we also have a great schedule of visual art here in the building.  Many different, beautiful works by renowned artists were incorporated into the building from the very beginning.

“Because this is the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication, we want to draw emphasis to all of the areas of aggregation in the college,” he said. “Specifically at this event, we want to feature the beautiful art that is in this building and to invite the community to meet these well-known personalities who can shed some light on their inspiration.” 

Trained in the age-old technique of off-hand glassblowing, Lawson draws much of his inspiration from the works of Italian artists of the early 20th century.  He has studied under some of the most influential glass artists including Dante Marioni, Preston Singletary, Katherine Gray, Boyd Sugiki and Ann Walstrom.  

His glass art facility in the Hill Country has been a valuable resource to designers, art consultants, collectors and architects throughout the region, and he has furnished art for clients from New York City to Palm Desert, Calif.

Aker, an internationally recognized architectural photographer and artist, has photographed projects for major architects and developers in the Houston area.  He was recognized as “Artist of the Year” by the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 2007 and has had a number of solo shows at galleries in Southeast Texas.  His work has appeared in numerous museum group shows and is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. 

Ash has been working in glass for more than 20 years.  Her Austin studio produces architectural glass, lighting, sinks, wall tile and limited production art glass pieces. Ash utilizes a technique that predates the age of Cleopatra in which hundreds of pieces of glass called tesserae are arranged and heated in a kiln until all are fused together in a single form.  Her clients have included the City of Austin, Neiman's, Barney's, Smithsonian Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts and private residences.

A graduate of SHSU, Surls is respected in the art world for his monumental wood and metal sculptures influenced by natural forms.  Although he now makes his home in Colorado, he remains one of Texas art’s most iconic figures, know both for his sculpture and for his contributions to the Houston area’s contemporary art scene.   

He has been named a “Texas Artist of the Year” and has received the “Living Legend Award” from the Dallas Contemporary Art Center.  His works have been shown in both national and international solo and group exhibitions, including a spring 2009 exhibition presented by the New York City Parks Public Art Program along the Park Avenue Malls in New York City.  

His work is also included in collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; the Dallas Museum of Art; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 

For more information about “Artful Inspirations” and to RSVP, e-mail Lisa Osborne at lko002@shsu.edu or call 936.294.1401.


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