A modernist sculptor of delicate seeming wooden objects of intriguing designs, James Surles also does drawing and prints that feature natural and human images and forms.
He carves, whittles and stains his objects, but creating a monotone effect, rarely paints them but sometimes burns images into them. Some of his works are large, as much as nine-feet tall.
Surls earned a B.S. degree from Sam Houston University and an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 1998, he moved from Splendora, Texas to Carbondale, Colorado.
In 2009, five sculptures, made of bronze and steel, were set up on Park Avenue by the New York City Parks Public Art Program. His work has been shown in major New York museums including the Whitney, Guggenheim, and Museum of Modern Art. His work is in numerous public collections.