Last night at the Colorado Springs Debutante Ball, a major purchase of art for the Fine Arts Center’s permanent collection was announced. This purchase was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Colorado Springs Debutante Ball Committee and was made in honor of their 50th Anniversary. The newly acquired work was created by artist James Surls and is entitled It’s Not About the Numbers. The stature of both the artist and this particular work are a perfect tribute to the significance of the 50‐year partnership between the Debutante Ball Committee and the Fine Arts Center.
Born in 1943 in East Texas, James Surls has become an award‐winning, global artist, exhibiting in over 350 solo, group, museum and gallery exhibitions across the world. He is sought‐after for large‐scale commissioned works throughout the U.S. and as far away as Singapore.
Surls is known for his largely monotone sculptures, drawings and prints that feature natural and human images and forms. Surls' work is particularly organic and primal. Having built a career in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s as a Texas artist, Surls currently lives and works on a Colorado ranch in the Roaring Fork Valley.
“It takes a mere moment in the presence of James Surls to realize that he is not only a technical and conceptual master of his craft, but an artist of profound philosophical depth,” said FAC Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Joy Armstrong.
His work is featured in the public collections of more than 50 institutions, including the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, TX; High Museum, Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles County Museum, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and now the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, CO.
“The Fine Arts Center is deeply grateful for the Debutante Ball Committee’s ongoing support and we want to congratulate them on 50 years of grace, elegance and philanthropy,” said FAC President and CEO, David Dahlin. “This purchase is another very fine example of the quality and magnitude of work that their generous contributions have made possible for us to bring to the community of Colorado Springs.”
This large‐scale sculptural work is installed in the front landing of the glass addition of the FAC, adding drama and beauty that is visible from the outside as well as from within. Other works by James Surls are currently featured in an expansive exhibition at the Fine Arts Center called All I Ever Wanted, along with the work of his wife, Charmaine Locke, through January 15, 2017. Also on view through January 2017 is the exhibition 50 Years of Grace, featuring nearly every purchase made possible by the Debutante Ball Acquisitions Fund; beginning with the first, John Sloan’s Eagles of Tesuque in 1968, and ending with 2016’s recent acquisition, Cindy Sherman’s Madame Pompadour Tea Service.