Surls’ work is a self-portrait, not in detail but in soul. Growing up among the trees of eastern Texas, Surls played for hours in the woods and forests. His attraction to and affinity for nature and its beauty are evident in his work. More profoundly, though, they speak about the man himself. Surls’ works are often based on objects and symbols that are made to take on the shapes of human or other life forms. Expressionist in style, his tall metal sculptures stand majestically against the sky. His simplified wood pieces seem rough-hewn and naïve, cloaking his great skill as a craftsman.