Three separate galleries in Temple’s Cultural Activities Center are bursting with art, and the responsible party, curator Marilyn Ritchie, was explaining how this embarrassment of riches came about.

“I thought we should make this a one-of-a-kind, first-ever event,” she said during last Friday’s gallery work day. As the artists finished hanging fused glass originals, assemblages and other works on the gallery walls, Ritchie turned to a bespectacled, ponytailed man next to her. “Hershall and Marilyn (Seals) have an extraordinary family of artists, and it’s time they had a family exhibit.”

As a UMHB professor and department chairman, Hershall Seals is a major figure in the Central Texas fine arts community. He lists Native American rock art as an inspiration for his blown glass abstracted figures and paintings. Several assemblages on the CAC walls display his versatile approach to a medium that complements his acrylic paintings, which he states “are

decorative interpretations of meandering — a mental activity or a way of expressing how people progress in life by making purposeful choices or are participants in a journey influenced by mystery or divine providence.”

Combination pieces

Marilyn Seals, fine arts teacher at Belton High School, creates “altered books, collages and drawings.” A combination of painting, sculpture and collage, she cuts out pages, carves compartments and glues pictures, paints or adds beads to reconfigure an old hardback library reject into a new object de art. She also combines drawing and collage into works called “random.”

Son Pat, bassist with the band Flyleaf, was indoctrinated into printmaking by UMHB’s John Hancock, a family friend. An accomplished printmaker, Seals’ expertise is woodblock printing and includes “alchemical symbols and historic references to arcane societies.” He recently illustrated the album cover for Flyleaf’s latest CD release.

An assistant professor of printmaking and drawing at East Central University in Ada, Okla., daughter Katherine Seals states her interest is “creating a visual commentary on low-brow American culture and folklore through portraiture.”

Her preferred medium is printmaking: “I feel that this process best suits my aesthetic and subject matter.”

Other exhibits

And if the works of the Seals family aren’t enough, Ritchie has also added a dual exhibit in the large Howard Gallery featuring class artists from the CAC’s instructional programs and pieces from A Work Of Art Studio. Sandy Mancillas and Jill Mooney were busy putting the final touches on the fused glass exhibit while displays of ceramics arranged along the south wall, created by Ritchie and her students, were being assigned price tags.

Speaking about the art in the Howard Gallery, Ritchie said that nearly all is for sale. “At prices from $7 to $300, there’s something for everyone — and these make wonderful, unique Christmas gifts.”

For a man deeply immersed and committed to art as a family way of life — he and future wife Marilyn met in art class at Sam Houston State — what does Hershall Seals consider to be the viewer’s take-away? “There are important and deep messages in the work — if you’re patient enough to look for it.”

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