The Beauty of It

Studio Visit: Maren Sinclair Hurn


I fell in love with artist Maren Sinclair Hurn’s work at her solo show at the Santa Cruz Art Center in February and recently had the pleasure of a leisurely visit to her studio in the Tannery Art Center.   Hurn’s work ranges from sculpture and pottery–to whimsical mobiles that evoke nests or breasts–to memories painted from photographs onto fragile looking hand-torn porcelain.  She is currently beginning work on a series of masks based on dream work and imagined conversations with the past.  Her visceral, sensual, delicate and dynamic forms are meant to be touched and experienced in four dimensions.

I asked Hurn to tell me the question she would most like to be asked about her work and then to answer it.  After a laugh and a moments thought she replied:

Why do you make this stuff? Why do you think it’s important to bring these kind of shapes into the world and have them floating around and accessible to touch?  I’ve noticed that a lot of your shapes–that you have a lot of butts and breasts in your work–what’s all that about?  Are you some kind of pervert?  What’s it all about?

I love these shapes, they’re just beautiful.  I love my mom’s breasts, I love my dad’s penis.  I saw them naked a few times, not much.  My mom when she was nursing my sister.  I feel the world with my body and when we drive through beautiful California foothills that are just so much the shape of bodies, I get turned on a little.  It’s just who I am. Textures are just exciting to me. It fills a need of mine to touch, it’s mostly shapes and rough textures. Bumps–hard edge bumps, soft edge bumps, any kinds of bumps–that interests me.  All my sculptures you can touch, there’s no reason not to touch them.  Especially, where you can see the bumps and the hard edges and the smooth curves going into a negative space.  I make things I like to look at and touch. Hopefully there will be other people in the world who have the same needs and interests.  We’re all different, so I’m always amazed when somebody can connect with my work.  It’s very thrilling.  It’s like, “Oh, I’m not alone, I’m not crazy.”  There is something in it that is more universal. We are connected with our different sensitivities and preferences, and we are not all alike.  That’s the beauty of it.

Maren Sinclair Hurn in her Santa Cruz Studio, April 10, 2017.


Maren Sinclair Hurn is a Santa Cruz, California based fine artist who works primarily in ceramic sculpture.  Work from her thirty-year studio practice is held in discerning private collections.  She holds an MFA in sculpture from Montana State University.

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