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Artists James Surls And Charmaine Locke Bring ‘Mayhem And Chaos’ To Dallas 82

Internationally recognized sculptor James Surls has pieces in collections around the world, including the Smithsonian, the Guggenheim and right here in North Texas at venues including the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

 Chaos and Mayhem: Charmaine Locke and James Surls, on view through April 3, Opening Reception, Jan. 16, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., 1426 N. Riverfront Drive, Dallas, TX, 75207, Details

Together with his wife and fellow artist Charmaine Locke, the Terrell Texas native is bringing new works to Kirk Hopper Fine Art. The exhibition Chaos and Mayhem features eight new sculptures by Surls, including drawings and prints, and as well as a new sculpture by Locke and a series of anti-war paintings on paper.

“UnHoly Warrior: Blood Feud” by Charmaine Locke. Photo: Robert Millman

The two have done joint exhibitions before, but this is their first show in Dallas. The idea for the show came about when curator Susie Kalil first saw the Chaos and Mayhem painting Locke did last year.

“Susie thought it was a great way to start 2021 by doing this show of our new work together at Kirk Hopper’s new space,” said Locke.

When visitors enter the 4200 square foot gallery, they’ll first be greeted at the entrance by the life-size sculpture UnHoly Warrior: Blood Feud, Locke’s new work in Hydrocal of a red demon with blue eyes lunching at the viewer with sword and cross.

James Surls, Cock Fight, 2018, pine knot, bois d’arc, walnut, red oak, cedar (fence post), 101″ x 60″ x 144″ Photo: Robert Millman

The neighboring gallery contains  Surls’ 10-foot wooden, suspended piece, Cock Fight. This work is described by the gallery as a “preening rooster with knife-edged, bulbous and phallic shapes.”

Cock Fight leads you into another interior gallery to find Surls’ sculpture in wood called Blood Bone, which in turn  leads you to a long, rectangular, almost expansive gallery that contains Locke’s, 13 anti-war works on paper that are all large scale, epic battles in blood red.

Locke says their intention with the show is to sound the alarm.

“Red alert to the slow slide of cultures to a more brutish, vicious aspect of the human psyche that pervades cultures from time to time. Red alarm to tendencies and traits of cruelty, savage oppression, diabolical domination that undermines the drive for dignity, equality and human fulfillment…”

Splashing of red paint on a white canvas.

‘Chaos and Mayhem’ by Charmaine Locke 2019–2020, acrylic paint, salt, soda wax or gesso on rice paper, 20″ x 39″

Susie Kalil, curator of Chaos and Mayhem, describes the the show as explosive and considers it the breakthrough exhibition of artist’s careers.

“Dark Bone, Eye and Thorns, and the Stone”, by James Surls. Photo: Robert Millman

“All of it is focusing on war between races, cultures, religions, the sexes and one’s body–the public and the private. So it’s a very timely exhibition, especially in light of the events at the Capitol. And all addresses, in these mythic battles, the toll of atrocities, war, and these inhumane acts, as well as the current pandemic. And all of us confronting these works in a way that will help us find a path to peace.”

Kalil also adds that it’s extremely important to go see this exhibition in person.

“Over the last several months during the pandemic, we’re all having to look at virtual online exhibitions and scroll through exhibitions on our devices with two fingers. This show gives viewers an opportunity to really engage, confront, walk around, and navigate all of this work–these huge wooden sculptures by James Surls and Charmaine Locke’s epic battles.”

Chaos and Mayhem is on display through April 3. There will be an opening reception Saturday, January 16, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. with the artists in attendance. Masks are required.

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