Runnels: Gene Owens' Fountain Sculpture and Post War Connections




Karl Williams, son of prominent Fort Worth artist Charles Williams, comments on the recent conservation treatment and adds historic context for Runnels and Vision of the Third Eye and Solar Disk, two other public artworks in the Garden.


Fort Worth sculptor Gene Owens’ recently-restored fountain sculpture, Runnels, can be seen on either side of the walkway entrance to the Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center in Fort Worth’s Botanic Garden.  After restoration, the fountain’s ceramic colors and sinuous water channels are more clearly revealed and invite a new admiration for the artist's subtle design and appreciation for the magic of running water.  The work was commissioned in 1986, thanks in large part to the thoughtful vision and largesse of the Botanic Garden’s principal patron, Deborah Beggs Moncrief.


A native of Fort Worth, Owens was born in 1931 and began his art career as a college student in the 1950s.  It was an exciting decade of transition in the local art community as the scene was greatly energized by the arrival of a talented group of artists returning from service in WWII.  Among others, that group of veterans included painters McKee Trotter and Jack Erickson, who taught at TCU, and sculptors Charles Williams and Ed Storms.  It was Trotter who introduced the youthful Owens to Williams and set in motion a long relationship between the two artists which centered on the exploration of bronze casting technique — a process which developed critical information for a generation of Texas sculptors.  Later, Ed Storms and many others benefited from the exchange of ideas and technical information which took place at Williams’ Fort Worth studio, a central gathering place for Texas artists and art patrons during the 50s and 60s. 


Sculpture by both Charles Williams (1917-1966) and Ed Storms (1924-1986) are now part of Fort Worth’s Public Art Collection on view at the Botanic Garden and are located within a short walk from the Owens fountain. At the present, Gene Owens continues to produce art and has recently returned to bronze casting after a long and successful run of exquisite porcelain sculpture.



To read the article about Runnels in the May issue of 360 West, starting on page 56,
go here: http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=207212