Object Image

Black and White Tipped Flower

Black and White Tipped Flower captures the tornadoes, black earth, and tenacious animal energy of the Piney Woods of southeast Texas. Surls grew up in a house that his father built, and his art comes out of a lifetime of working with hand tools and "making do." He believes that everything he creates is both a self-portrait and an image of the land that shaped him. Flower is scary and comical, an animal-plant-man-creature rising from the thickets and looking for a mate. It calls to mind Surls's goal to be "a hump-backed beast with golden hands," unafraid to tap into the life-force of his home ground for images that tickle and terrify.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Credit: Museum purchase and gift in honor of Adelyn Dohme Breeskin from her friends

1982
Burnt white oak
146.0 x 99.0 x 94.0 cm
1986.52
Image and text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2024

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