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IN A FOLLOW-UP TO ITS TRADITION OF PRESENTING TRANSFORMATIVE EXHIBITIONS TO INAUGURATE THE NEW YEAR, KIRK HOPPER FINE ART TAPS ART HISTORIAN SUSIE KALIL TO CURATE A TWO-PERSON SHOW, "CHARMAINE LOCKE AND JAMES SURLS: CHAOS AND MAYHEM." TWO TITANS OF TEXAS ART AT KIRK HOPPER FINE ART Y ou can't talk about Texas art without devoting an extended c h a p t e r t o t h e original first couple of Splendora, Texas: James Surls and Charmaine Locke. Surls achieved international acclaim after his turns in the 1979 and 1985 Whitney Biennials, and the trifecta acquisition of works by the Whitney, MoMA, and Guggenheim for their permanent collections. Surls and Locke also impacted contemporary art in Houston in a way no one has ever equaled. The couple, who now reside in Colorado, co-forged Lawndale Art Center, and art professor Surls empowered a generation of artists at the University of Houston. Now Texas audiences have a rare opportunity to see their works together at a Dallas art space, where curator Susie Kalil organizes an exhibition that mirrors our unsettling time. "Chaos and Mayhem" brings more than three dozen paintings, sculptures, and works on paper to Kirk Hopper Fine Art's new Dallas Design District space. What we previewed was powerful, stripped down, and took a stance. "I saw in both Charmaine's and James' new work a regenerative spirit that was leading to fearless breakthroughs with risk, boldness, and ferocity," Kalil says. "They were getting outside of themselves to address core issues facing all of us in the here and now about war: between races, countries, religions, the sexes, and our own bodies, the private and the public." Of Locke's latest series (acrylic, salt, soda, wax or gesso on rice-paper paintings), Kalil says, "Charmaine's pulsating crimson works made my blood boil — as if she had let loose the demons within herself and all of us … Her paintings of bodies and the KKK do not shrink from current fears." As to Surls, whom Kalil has been writing about since the 1970s, she says, "James' new massive sculpture Blood Bone [still in process] goes for the jugular in terms of issues pertaining to male aggression, the female body, religion, and those ancient relationships." Charmaine Locke's Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, 2020, below, at Kirk Hopper Fine Art, January 15 through April 4; BY CATHERINE D. ANSPON. PORTRAITS TREVOR SWANK. James Surls' Dark Bone, Eyes, Thorns, and the Stone, 2020, at Kirk Hopper Fine Art Charmaine Locke James Surls

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