Kermit Oliver’s scarf collection on exhibit
by Kenda Nelson
Sep 04, 2009 | 7595 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kermit Oliver  celebrates the life and accomplishments of the Marquis de Lafayette in this designer scarf, which is one of 12 on exhibit at Refugio County Museum. The one-of-a-kind private collection will be on display throughout the months of September and October.
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Last month, former Refugio resident Kermit Oliver turned 66. Almost simultaneously, a collection of the artist’s designer silk scarves went on display in the Refugio County Museum. All but two of his 14 designs for the House of Hermes are in the exhibit.

On loan from a private collector, the scarves are the most extensive assembly to be placed for public viewing.

“The museum conducted the pre-party for last month’s Boys and Girls Club annual gala so it was time for us to do something special,” said Bart Wales, curator.

And special it is.

Last year, exhibitions of Oliver’s artful silk scarves were conducted in Houston and in Beeville. Both museums displayed two of his works of art. From New York City to San Francisco Calif., exhibits of this caliber and number will not be found anywhere else, said co-curator Rosemary Kelley.

The native Refugian defines the relationship between high fashion and art. Oliver also defines the terms of private life and celebrity.

“Kermit Oliver guards his privacy,” Wales said. “He’s a very quiet, very reserved, very talented and gentle man,” Wales said. “Probably one of the most talented people to come out of Refugio County.”

Most designer silk scarves use from eight to 16 colors in its design, Oliver’s typically requires 64 colors in 32 different screens, a first for the studio in Lyon, France where the artist’s scarves are produced.

Bursting with historical figures and symbols, the scarves are an elaborate reflection of Oliver’s ability to combine symbolism and history in creative and vibrant color.

His nature scarves of turkeys and other wildlife reflect the keen landscape of the Coastal Prairie of his boyhood. He is the son of a working cowboy, the late K.J. Oliver who is featured in Louise O’Connor’s book, “Cryin’ for Daylight.”

His mother Katherine Oliver still resides in Refugio. It’s no coincidence that all the Oliver’s names begin with “K.”

“We want everyone in and out of the county to take this opportunity to visit the museum,” Kelley said.

Discovering the art and talent of Kermit Oliver is well-worth the time.
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September 08, 2009
It's nice to see Refugio honoring one of its own. Kermit is certainly worthy of it. His early paintings, dating to the 1960s, are excellent portrayals of the county's unique geographical look. May I suggest that the museum do its best to obtain one or more of these originals for permanent showing. This outstanding native artistry needs to be made available for viewing by all the county residents, of the present and the future.