What: Extraordinary Journey: 40 Years of Art Metalwork by Harlan W. Butt, an exhibition of works by the University of North Texas Regents professor of art that feature images of nature and incorporate text, including his own poetry.
When: The exhibition runs from Oct. 15 (Saturday) to Dec. 3 (Saturday). The artist talk will take place at 3 p.m. and the opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m., both on Oct. 15.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Harlan W. Butt took a metalsmithing and jewelry class as a college art major and he knew it was the field he wanted to work in.
"There's something about the material – flexible but rigid," said the University of North Texas Regents professor of art. "My personality was in sync with how metal works."
His career has been as durable as the material. His work will be on display at Extraordinary Journey: 40 Years of Art Metalwork by Harlan W. Butt, an exhibition running Oct. 15 (Saturday) – Dec. 3 (Saturday) at UNT ArtSpace Dallas. The artist talk will take place at 3 p.m. and the opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m., both on Oct. 15.
The exhibition will feature images of nature, often with incorporated text, including his own poetry, that he created while teaching at UNT's College of Visual Arts and Design.
The earliest pieces, both made in 1978, are two chalices. One piece, made of enamel and metal, feature reflections of a gold-cast baby cardinal. The other is a green and gold-plated silver chalice featuring imagery from the four seasons – green for summer; a maple leaf for autumn; maple branches with buds for spring, with winter being implied due to its absence.
One series of works are vessels that have been inspired by his trips to a dozen national parks since 2003. He likes the form of the vessel for its metaphorical themes and its functionality.
"I feel the form of the container is universal and transcends culture and time," he said.
But the exhibition will feature other media, including a wall piece that is divided into three sections and features a Buddhist expression of reality. Another small sculpture features text about a flock of birds in a tree.
Butt earned his bachelor's degree in art at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and his master's at Southern Illinois University. He taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and San Diego State University before coming to UNT in 1976. He will retire at the end of the spring semester in 2017.
For the exhibition, he had to select 20 pieces of work even though he has created more than 500 pieces in those four decades.
"It came down to choosing work that was typical of periods or series of objects throughout that time span or represent works that were atypical but interesting tangents to work with which people might be more familiar," he said. "Of course I'm proud of the pieces in the exhibition but some of the older works seem like old friends that I haven't seen in a long time."