The narratives of “Natural Resources”

Dario Bucheli, Contributing Writer

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On Oct. 5, the Beatrice M. Haggerty Art Gallery opened its most recent exhibition, “Natural Resources.” It features the works of Texas artists Sherry Owens and Greg Reuter, who use their sculptures to communicate in the language of the natural world.

While the majority of the work exhibited in the gallery is sculptural, there are also a few drawings and other installation pieces. The works of Owens and Reuter come together seamlessly to create a rich environment, which invites the viewer to closer examination. Their artistic language is directly influenced by the origins of their materials, the materials themselves, and the themes that they describe.

Sherry Owens is a native Texan who studied at Southern Methodist University. Soon after graduation, she continued practicing art as a weaver artist. She described the natural development of her work, which transitioned from weaving with linen and other textiles to using tree branches. Her sculptures of crepe myrtle branches show a delicate play of line and negative space. Not only are her works mesmerizing, but they also reveal intricate narratives and multiple meanings.

One of her pieces, “Heart of the Prairie,” hangs on the gallery wall. A beautiful and meticulously crafted semi-abstract sculpture made from branches of crepe myrtle trees stained red, the piece is vaguely shaped like a heart, and the lines composing it suggest blood vessels.

In the lower end of the piece is a denser knot of branches, reminiscent of a bird’s nest. In order to create this piece, Owens assembled the structure of branches around an object, which was later on removed in order to reveal its shape.

“[The negative space is to be understood as] a source of energy … rather than just an empty space,” said Owens.

In this work, she speaks about the varied population of birds in the American prairie, which symbolize life and energy. Her other pieces show the same use of tree branches and references to birds’ nests, which she uses to speak about the wonders of the American prairie, slowly lost to urban development.

Greg Reuter was born in California and obtained his degree from the University of Hawaii before moving to Corpus Christi, Texas, where he currently works. The sea is a theme throughout his exhibited works, which create a visual language presenting a series of biographical works and interesting narratives. Reuter creates pieces outdoors, by the beach. His creative process involves laying plaster on the sand in order to capture both its textures and the tracks of wildlife or human interaction. He then creates molds to cast the shapes in bronze, which are welded together to create the final pieces.

According to Reuter, his work is a “documentation of time” and more particularly of the places where he worked, which inspire him.

His piece “Inverted Burrow” is a beautiful abstract shape cast in bronze arching over a wooden stand. Reuter first poured the plaster into a crab burrow at the beach and then cast the piece in bronze. The surface of the piece is highly textural, and it reveals the impression of the sand and the crabs digging into the soil to create their homes.

Working together to curate this exhibition, the artists wish to create a space in which the works integrate beautifully. The show reaches the general student body in many different ways,” said Scott Peck, executive director at the Museum of Biblical Art and the Haggerty Gallery Manager. “It connects with the audience through works both visually and physically interactive, as appreciation for the beauty of the natural world is something common to us all.

The exhibition will be on display until Nov. 1, 2015. The Haggerty Gallery Hours are Monday — Friday 10 a.m. — 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. — 5 p.m.

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