|Reverend Seymour Perkins Courtesy photo|
Born in the sleepy town of Halettsville, Texas, in 1930, Reverend Seymour Perkins has long called the East Side of San Antonio his home. The last decade has been one of serial tragedy for Perkins: He lost his daughter in an act of drug-related violence several years ago, and his beloved church on Hackberry Street, which sat conveniently next door to his family home, burned to the ground in 1999.
Despite - or perhaps because of - the hostility of his immediate environment, Perkins remains spiritually positive in his demeanor and visual art. At 73, Perkins is still a practicing minister. He continues to conduct his non-traditional Sunday worship services and Bible studies through a bullhorn on top of the concrete slab that once supported his church. Around this impromptu house of the holy sit his handmade objects of beauty, each lovingly created from items the rest of us discard with a shrug. His elaborate woodcarvings and whimsical paintings are on exhibit at San Angel Folk Art.
Perkins started carving wood nearly a decade ago, and has been painting for five years. His stiff, flat human figures rest against solid, often brightly colored backgrounds. Perkins paints on wood and paper found along the side of the road or dug from long-forgotten archives: old cabinet doors, faded maps, scraps of deteriorated signs. Some of his paintings at San Angel are rendered atop old maps of the near East Side - maps that Perkins associates with one of his infatuations: the underground railroad.
| WITH THESE HANDS |
Through September 28
San Angel Folk Art
110 Blue Star
Perkins' exquisite woodcarvings demonstrate a deep understanding of the craft. He carves stately walking sticks out of fallen tree branches - long, delicate staffs crowned with regal faces the artist simply describes as "African heads." He transforms trite bowls of fake, decorative fruit into countless smooth faces. Perkins' wood work is wonderfully tactile, striking a balance between refined, smoothed-over areas and untouched natural bark. •