Jacquline Hurlbert

Jacquline Hurlbert, who moved to Oregon from California in 1991, was originally from Nebraska. She attended the University of Nebraska where she first discovered ceramics. Her clay sculptures take many forms creating a different series of works to express each group of emotions that she experiences. Some find her work shocking or disturbing, while she sees it as a sign of hope. “The strong, feathered wings, modeled after those of birds rather than angels are symbolic of trying to lift ourselves out of the sorrows and tribulations of the world.”

The wings that Jacquline uses in much of her figurative wall sculptures symbolize freedom, emergence, the knowledge of the soul, and the spiritual searching that people experience during their everyday lives. The searching is not free of struggle or disappointment. Her winged figures are about that on going struggle and gradual resolution. Knowing ones weaknesses and fears makes it possible to overcome them.

In reference to Jacquline’s wrapped wall ceramic figures she states, “These wrapped figures are symbolic imagery I use to express my discontent with our world. I feel forced to wrap myself up in order to protect myself from the onslaught of sensory abuse. On the other hand if we allow ourselves to escape into a self fabricated cocoon who will be left to voice our outrage? These figures stand in the “Middle Space” between stillness and restlessness, wanting to hide and at the same time knowing it’s not impossible. What we are left with is the struggle to find our own truth and personal freedom amidst the madness.”

Jacquline creates a body of work titled, “Walking in my sleep, I can finally see where I am going”: “These works were inspired by exploration of the self through dreams/each creature representing a different aspect. Each of these pieces is a reminder of the complexities of our being. Each moment of our lives we make the choice as to who we want to be at that moment. It is my hope that each person viewing this body of work can relate to one of more of these images.”

Another series is titled, “Gothic Chambers” consisting of shapped wall ceramics usually with a face embedded in the center. Each part of the peace is a symbol that creates a thought or story as Jacquline works through the concept of protecting the unknown fragile parts of ourselves that we conceal. “We are not always able to be strong in the support of our own ideas and in the constant struggle to be who we truly are.” “The eggs symbolize ones cherished dreams, desires or perfect self. The shell is opaque and doesn’t allow us to see the dream realized until it is ready to give birth. The contents of the egg equates to the life force or energy that is needed to bring the dream to life. Brightly colored shells promise exciting, dramatic insides. The Gothic structures represent protection for the fragile eggs, keeping them safe from harm just as we protect our dreams and desires. Often I place faces or creatures on the chambers to keep watch over the valued egg cargo. These protectors refuse to let the treasured dream die.” These Gothic Chambers are great favorites along with the winged figures.

There are small ceramic squares with heads in the center called “Will you still love me if you know me?” There are also free standing ceramic heads with horns and three feet high wall figures in this series, called “Personages: Who Shall I Wear Today?” Jacquline says, “I wake up, look in the mirror and I am amazed at what I see….so many faces, so many moods, so many attitudes….and I ask myself…Who shall I wear today? We are a complex, sometimes chaotic group of personalities each fighting for center stage. These pieces reflect the various aspects of ourselves that want to be heard, from the light hearted to the shadow self.”

The Pod series is one of the most recent of Jacquline’s creations. “Pods are a departure from my figurative work but reflect some of the same ideas. Nature designed the pod to house and protect the delicate seed. The pod is strong and sometimes spiked to keep the seed safe from harm. I use the clay shell to symbolize protection and safety for our dreams and desires. These dreams and desires represent the much cherished “seed”. With both the seed pod and the ceramic pod, the contents can’t be seen and the seed, just like the dream, cannot be realized without care and time.”

All of Jacquline’s ceramic works of art are strong, intriguing, well executed and become even more precious when her spiritual message that accompanies each piece is discovered.

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