Gene Sparling (b. 1955) was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and spent his childhood in Springfield, Missouri. As a young man he established a home in the Ouachita Mountains just south of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Throughout his life he has sought out wilderness, traveling, backpacking, horse packing, and kayaking through wild landscapes, always returning to the woods of his home in the Ouachitas. With great concern for remaining wild places, Sparling has served as a voice for wildlife and habitat conservation throughout the country.
With his affinity to nature, it is no wonder that when Sparling began his career as an artist, that his medium would be tied to the natural world. He began learning to work with wood as a child, from his father, and has continued learning and working with wood, throughout his life. Through his work, Sparling seeks to highlight the unique beauty of each piece, while creating vessels, sculptures, and furniture that complement their natural roots.
Sparling began pursuing his artistic vision in wood in 2008 and by 2011 was receiving notoriety for his elegant wood pieces. Sparling’s work was selected for inclusion in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s museum store offerings of original work by contemporary artists, as well as the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas and The Arkansas Craft Guild and The Ozark Folk Center, in Mountain View, Arkansas.
Exhibitions of Sparling’s work include:
2017 Materials Hard + Soft International Contemporary Craft Competition and Exhibition, Denton, TX; 59th Annual Delta Exhibition, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas (2017); Aspects of Abstraction in the Trinity Gallery of the Historic Arkansas Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas (2010); Arkansas Sculpture Invitational Show and Sale, Argenta Community Theater, North Little Rock, Arkansas (2012, 2013); Sculpture at the River Market, Little Rock, Arkansas (2016, 2013, 2011); among others. His work is also currently represented by Justus Fine Art Gallery in Hot Springs, Arkansas and the Argenta Gallery in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Sparling currently lives in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas where he maintains a working studio and private gallery.