James Surls

Delahunty and Robinson galleries

James Surls’ sculpture has started to dance, float and rotate. His recent show indicates a lighter orientation both in form and in handling of materials. The show included both drawings and sculpture; the drawings are not studies for the sculpture, but offer insight into a fantasy world that is certainly shared by the sculpture.

A drawing like Stick Dance for Red Bird is visually complex, but very revealing. Hard and soft outlines and scale distortions convey a mental, rather than a physical, reality. A large self-portrait of the sculptor reaches out at the left; carving and a female figure-tree form float on the right. In the background a tiny faintly drawn house seems to stand for the physical world, while the looming artist draws on a fantasy of nature.

Surls’ art is rooted in the earth. In a piece like Dancing Man, 1977, oak and pine are whittled and hewn. A natural vertical twisting of

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