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 Jesus Bautista Moroles  (1950 - )

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Lived/Active: Texas      Known for: monumental granite sculpture, painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Well known for his monumental granite sculpture, Jesus Moroles has one of his works in the White House sculpture garden. A 64 ton piece is also across from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He works, not by carving granite, but by hammering 5-inch steel wedges into large slabs, causing them to split against the grain. He polishes some surfaces and leaves others raw.

He apprenticed with Luis Jimenez, who tried to persuade him unsuccessfully to work in fiberglass that looked like stone. But he wouldn't do it because he likes "living stone" that resists his efforts. Moroles first encountered granite in 1978 on the eve of his graduation from the University of North Texas in Denton. And his first piece of granite sculpture sold at the Shidoni Outdoor Sculpture Show in Tesuque, New Mexico, which of course gave him much encouragement.

For the last 20 years, beginning in the 1980s, Moroles, born and raised in the inner city of Dallas, has based his studio in Rockport, Texas, about 35 miles north of Corpus Christi. It is a sleepy, fishing village but is also headquarters to Moroles, Inc., a multi-million dollar business that employs about 20 people. His parents, Mexican immigrants, also live on the property as do the peacocks raised by his father. He travels widely including to Aswan, Egypt and Changchun, China where he has installed his sculpture.

Source: "Southwest Art", March 2001

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, II:
Born in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1950 and educated with a BFA at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, Jesús Moroles lives and works 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 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' 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.

Moroles established himself as one of the master sculptors of his generation with the recently completed (1996) "sculpture plaza" for the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum in Wichita, Kansas.  In the tradition of his aesthetic 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.

In the summer of 1996, Moroles celebrated the opening of his Moroles Cultural Center, an exhibition, performance, and studiospace located in the town of Cerillos, New Mexico (about 30 miles south of Santa Fe).  To date, Moroles' work has been included in over 130 one-person exhibitions and over 200 group exhibitions.  He has lectured extensively about his work and the issue of public sculpture.  His work has been the subject of numerous articles and reviews in ARTNEWS, Arts, Artforum, Artspace, Artweek, Newsweek, Southwest Art, Time, and The New York Times as well as several books such as America Art Now, Art in the Eighties, National Museum of American Art, Contemporary Art in Texas, and Contemporary Art in New Mexico, and A Comprehensive Guide to Outdoor Sculpture in Texas.

Reference: From the Artist

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