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'Out of the Depths' goes on display Friday


March 15, 2011 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated March 14, 2011 at 10:15 p.m.

Drill bits emerging from pools of oil are among the pieces on display at the Nave Museum in Susan Budge's installation, "Out of the Depths." Budge, whose family was in the oil industry, said she always felt drill bits were beautiful.

A number of drill bits stand inside Victoria's Nave Museum, gleaming and colored and emerging from pools of black oil.

The works are part of Susan Budge's installation, "Out of the Depths," which goes on display at the 306 W. Commercial St. museum Friday. A members' preview is Thursday evening.

"I grew up around drill bits and always thought they were so pretty," Budge said during a break from installing her pieces. "When you look at them upside-down, they look like flowers."

Her works also include a variety of colored, sculpted hard hats, a collection called "Tribute," that lines the wall.

Interspersed among the colored hard hats sit 11 white hats with eyes peering from the top. These, a series called "Sacrifice," symbolize the 11 men killed in the 2010 oil rig blast.

The San Antonio artist said her works are not an ugly statement about the oil industry, but a reminder of people's responsibility to the environment and a way to honor the men she loves who worked in the industry. Her grandfather worked a variety of oil jobs and owned a small drilling company, while her father worked as a geologist.

"I was so upset last summer, with the BP spill," she said. "I thought, 'Both my dad and granddad were such good stewards of the earth. That wouldn't have happened under their watch.'"

Budge, a tenured professor at San Antonio College, said showing her work in Victoria is meaningful because it's where she got her start in teaching. In 1988, she received a residency grant and taught students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

"I found that I loved teaching," she said, noting she lived in a studio apartment and did some shows in town. "It's good to be back."

She said she plans to include a sculpture from 1988 in the display.

Other pieces sit in the museum's front room, including "Blue Tear," a piece about a woman's "last egg" and menopause, and "Skinny Horned Ghost," a white sculpture Budge's 7-year-old son, William, named.

It's pretty easy to name art pieces, he said Monday, in between helping his mom set up displays.

"All you have to do is look and think about them," he explained.



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