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My Life Has Gotten So Busy That It Now Takes Up All of My Time

July 15–September 9, 2018

Nancy Jurs is well known as a potter who trained at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen. Less known are her sculptures and installations that employ found, unaltered objects, which evoke personages or anthropomorphic visions, and her manipulated photographs. These works of art represent a surprising and whimsical self-reflective conceptual thread throughout Jurs’ career.

“We are delighted to share these little-known works with our visitors and guests, which even Nancy Jurs’ most dedicated followers and collectors may not be familiar with,” said MAG’s Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director Jonathan P. Binstock, who is the curator of the exhibition. “Nancy introduced herself to me as an artist who works with clay, and from the start, I admired her pots, dogs, abstracted torsos, sentinel-like and guardian figures. However, after a few years of getting to know her, I learned of a surprising and provocative conceptual aspect to her work, one that speaks to her understanding of her life’s work and role as an artist.”

Nancy Jurs’ early work was primarily functional raku vessels. Over the years she has evolved and expanded her métier. In 1980 she began a series of functional wall shelves, or “wall pouches,” that suggest butterflies or female forms. Later came “blouses” that the artist thinks of as emblematic of women’s bodies and spirit. The relationship of the clothing-inspired pieces to Greek and Roman draped sculpture led Jurs to experiment with larger-than-life-size sculptural forms that suggest goddesses, women, and animals. These emotionally expressive clay shapes are hand-built or wheel-thrown and are glazed, painted with acrylics, or finished with any combination of techniques. MAG permanently displays a commanding pair of sculptures related to this body of work outside its main entrance, titled Emergence, 1995.