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This instructor, Junkins was his last name, he just recognized the dynamic—how much of it was in my work, and my intuition—and a year or so later I came across this book and saw that you can purposely do this. It was an epiphany. We went to West Oaks Square quite often, and there was a bookstore there. Two books [there] were out of place: The Painter’s Secret Geometry and Jung’s Symbols of Transformation. Those two books were really prominent in the formulation of my [work]and they were [found] in the same night.

TSU ID. Courtesy of the artist.

Recurring themes

My work deals with the metamorphosis of ideas as well as objects. The idea[s] of birth, death, rebirth or resurrection…these elements I use really reflect from the standpoint of my religious upbringing. Basically I was looking at themes that dealt with the idea of immortality, the transitory [nature]of life, the idea of growth…the butterfly, the cocoon, the fish…all these are images that deal with the advent of a God that sacrifices his godliness to bring about salvation to humanity. And this idea of rebirth, you know, redemption…that especially.

I was never an exceptional artist, even when I got to college. We had people [at TSU] that would make me feel very embarrassed. I mean I struggled. My work is a long, long struggle. Dealing with larger purposes you [have]a larger responsibility. Talent to me was a mechanical thing that was learned, but [there] you had students that were just…it was embarrassing. I would bring work in and I’d be almost in tears, you know. It was a highly competitive thing because it was [about]ideas. Dr. Biggers had his reputation and his status in the art community was built on his ’58 trip [to Africa]. It was overwhelming. We saw him work. We saw the results of his work. His drawing especially. I mean, it was just depressing to see things like that and you’re not able to do them.

I was not old enough to have the connections he had with the old African American experience, so it would be a surface aspect for me to deal with the image of African art and what Dr. Biggers was doing. As a matter of intellectual honesty as well as cultural honesty I could never feel comfortable [with that], and never did. I don’t think I ever did an African theme.

From right to left: Kermit Oliver, Herb Mears, Ronnie Avery and Ava Jean Mears at DuBose Gallery, Houston, c. 1969-70. Courtesy of the artist.

Commercial art

When I was going to work I rode a bicycle several miles to a framing shop, and there were a lot of galleries [along] Westheimer that I would stop in and look at. Robinson, David, Meredith Long and DuBose I would go too, and each week I would make one trip to the Museum. [This was]1970, right at ’70, and it was a different experience because everyone was doing art, it seemed. The Art League of Houston—I would always go there and they were at another location. I think it was South Main, near the Contemporary Arts Museum, the old Contemporary Arts Museum. I was always looking at art at the University of St. Thomas; they had a lot of lectures. It was like being inspired or motivated because we were isolated. We were reclusive. But we could go into those places in an anonymous situation. Once a month we would stand out for about an hour before we were dragged into the galleries, but that was our own social hour.

I had been showing with Diane Smith I think a year and had a one-man show, and then Dr. Biggers asked me about going to commercial galleries. [I went with DuBose] in ’69 because my first show was in ’70 if I’m not mistaken. Ben was a person who placed great value in collecting…that was what makes art communities grow. He began to collect young artists and then let them grow. Some were recognized as some of the leading artists that were in the city and that was the compliment I had; it was also the intimidating aspect of being in that gallery.

You see, when you’re isolated you’re in a very small environment. It was exciting because you were seeing things—you could see what was beginning in terms of what was going on. There was a vitality, I think…and you were part of it, but not part of it.

Kermit Oliver was interviewed on June 29, 2006. You can listen to the interview here .

Questions & Answers

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research.net
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there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
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Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
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Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
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CYNTHIA
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
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Source:  OpenStax, Houston reflections: art in the city, 1950s, 60s and 70s. OpenStax CNX. May 06, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10526/1.2
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