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.