Jesús Moroles. Born 09/22/1950—Died 06/15/2015
Jesús Moroles was born in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1950. After attending Dallas ISD schools as a child, including this school which now bears his name (formerly Sidney Lanier Elementary), he graduated from Crozier Tech High School in Dallas in 1969. Jesús served 4 years in the U.S. Air Force beginning in 1969. He received his A.A, at El Centro College, Dallas, Texas 1975. He received his B.FA. from the University of North Texas, Denton, in 1978 and apprenticed under Luis Jiménez for one year immediately after his graduation. In 1979 he left to work in Pietrasanta, Italy for one year before starting his body of work for which he is widely known.
Critical recognition for Moroles came quickly. In 1981, Moroles purchased his first large diamond saw, which began his journey towards creating a workshop dedicated to his artistic vision. In 1983, Moroles built a studio in Rockport, Texas, where he lived and worked. The workings of the studio became a family effort with the artist involving his parents Jose and Maria, his brother, Hilario, his sister, Suzanna, and brother-in-law, Kurt Kangas as integral parts of the Moroles Studio.
His most visible public sculpture is Lapstrake 1987, a massive 22 feet tall, 64-ton work located across from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Moroles received significant national attention with his inclusion in the landmark exhibition Contemporary Hispanic Art in the United States, which was shown at major American museums. His largest scale single work is the Houston Police Officers Memorial, dedicated in November 1992. The memorial is comprised of a granite and earth rising stepped pyramid surrounded by four equal inverted stepped pyramids excavated from the ground.
Moroles has more than 2,000 works in place in China, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States, in museum, corporate, public and private collections. Moroles's work has been included in over one hundred and sixty one-person exhibitions and one hundred and ninety group exhibitions worldwide. Among his distinctions, Moroles was a member of the Board of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, a recipient of the 2007 Texas Medal of the Arts Award for Visual Arts by the Texas Cultural Trust, and a recipient of the 2008 National Medal of the Arts, which was presented to him by President George W. Bush.
Moroles's granite sculptures are created through a "tearing" process where the artist drills small holes in the granite and put wedges into it. Then pressure is applied to the middle of the stone to tear it in a line or in a curve, opening up the middle of the granite to show all the crisp untouched granite. Mr. Moroles made the following statement to describe his work:
"In Carrara, Italy, where I lived and worked from 1979-80, the marble quarries have been worked by man for centuries. Yet the mountain maintains its integrity; Nature has reclaimed parts of the quarries while man proceeds to excavate in others; the two agents, nature and man, ultimately collaborate in the overall result.
Part of what I attempt with my sculpture is to bring the quarry into the gallery--to make the stone important by drawing attention to it, and to show the finished piece as the result of its interaction with its context. The stone itself is the starting point. I always choose pieces that already suggest their final form. By working directly in response to the character of the stone, I hope to expose the truth of the material."
For more information about Jesús Moroles, including videos and pictures of his works, visit here.