Texas sculptor Jesus Moroles dies in car accident

 Texas sculptor and National Medal of the Arts recipient Jesus Moroles   has died in a traffic accident.
   The Texas Department of Public Safety says Moroles was killed Monday night in a wreck in Jarrell, 30 miles north of Austin.
   DPS said Wednesday that Moroles was northbound on Interstate 35 when the van he was driving rear-ended a tractor-trailer rig. Moroles, who lived and worked in Rockport, died at the scene. The trucker wasn't hurt.
   President George W. Bush in 2008 awarded Moroles, who specialized in granite, the National Medal of Arts in a White House ceremony.

Moroles' largest single work is the 1991 site sculpture, the "Houston Police Officers Memorial." Comprised of granite and an earthen stepped pyramid surrounded by four equal inverted stepped pyramids excavated from the ground, the sculpture spans 120 feet by 120 feet.

Born in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1950 and educated with a BFA at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, Jesús Moroles lived and worked  in Rockport, Texas.

After returning from a year of studio work in Italy in 1980, Moroles commenced to make the body of work for which he is widely known. Critical recognition for Moroles came quickly with many of  his early exhibitions at Texas museums.

In 1981, Moroles purchased  his first large diamond saw, which began his long term commitment to create a studio. In 1983, Moroles began his construction in Rockport. 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. This facility is unequaled in the country for the making of large scale sculptures.

In 1982, Moroles received the prestigious Awards in the Visual Arts Fellowship for which his works were included in a two year traveling museum exhibition which originated at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Illinois.

During this period, Moroles began making large scale works such as his 22 foot tall sculpture fountain, titled "Floating Mesa Fountain" for the Albuquerque Museum in New Mexico. In 1985, Moroles received a National Endowment for the Arts Matching Grant for an environmental installation of 45 sculptural elements and fountains for the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, Alabama.

In 1987, Moroles completed his most visible work, "Lapstrake", a 64 ton, 22 foot tall sculpture for the E.F. Hutton, CBS Plaza in New York City located across the street from the Museum of Modern Art. During this time he received significant national attention with his inclusion in the landmark museum exhibition, "Contemporary Hispanic Art in the United States." Originating from the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, the exhibition traveled to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.

Moroles established himself as one of the master sculptors of his generation with  the  "sculpture plaza" for the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum in Wichita, Kansas. In the tradition of his esthetic mentor, Isamu Noguchi, Moroles designed and sculpted from granite, a "Granite Landscape" comprised of terraced slabs forming a stone riverway, a 30 foot long "Fountain Wall" and a 30 foot long "Granite Weaving" wall. Together, these works create a single environment that serves as an entrance to the museum and an outdoor site to exhibit important sculpture.(1996)

  Moroles' work has been included in over 130 one-person exhibitions and over 200 group exhibitions. He lectured extensively about his work and the issue of public sculpture.

Biographical information from the artist's website  www.moroles.com

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