‘Texas Society of Sculptors Exhibition’

The Wildflower Center has artworks on view worthy of a visit in their own right

<i>Conversation</i> by Mary Morse
Conversation by Mary Morse

Texas Society of Sculptors Exhibition

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

4801 La Crosse, 232-0100,

www.wildflower.org

Through June 27

You know it's a perfect time of the year to drive out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: bluebonnets everywhere, blooming in blue profusion along the highway, accented by red-orange patches of Indian paintbrush. Floral beauty like that, native plants like these: one of the reasons that Lady Bird (and actress Helen Hayes) started the center in the first place.

Coincidentally, the Texas Society of Sculptors currently has an exhibit of new works out there in the middle of architecturally enhanced and thoughtfully landscaped nature. And, happily, many of the sculptures on display are fully worthy of a visit in their own right.

First thing you're going to see as you walk in, before you even get into the center, is Julio Sanchez de Alba's sculpture of a dragonfly. You don't have to look too closely to find it: This dragonfly, in fiberglass, stainless steel, and bronze, displayed at the top of the entrance column, is like something from H.G. Wells' The Food of the Gods, a painstakingly realistic creation about the size of a Toyota Prius. A little farther along the path are two ants – "Harvest Ants," the info sheet tells us, although of course they mean harvester ants – also crafted by Sanchez de Alba, also blithely disregarding the restraints of the square-cube law, that are so precisely rendered as to induce formication in even the most insectophilic viewer.

But maybe giant bugs aren't quite your thing? It's good, then, that some of the other works of the shapers' art on display are Mary Morse's Conversation – a bronze duo of human males, like two-thirds of the gentlemen of Barton Springs' Philosophers' Rock shrunk down to doll size – and Anne Woods' evocations of plants – lantana, cedar sage, inland sea oats – in steel and aluminum. Of course, this being Texas, there are a few pieces in limestone, too: Ricardo Puemape's Sunflowers and Going Swimming, Steve Morris' Riverwind.

And those are only a small percentage of what's available for viewing. The Wildflower Center, normally adorned with sculptural elements, has, with this show, seen the population of human-fabricated beauty drastically increase. We reckon you'd be glad to increase the visitor population yourself – or, heck, take your whole family along for an aesthetically and spiritually invigorating afternoon. You're gonna charge up your camera and make that young'un pose in a field of bluebonnets sometime soon, anyway, so you might as well make a real outing of it.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas Society of Sculptors, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Julio Sanchez de Alba, Mary Morse, Anne Woods, Ricardo Puemape, Steve Morris

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