Painting, installation, and sculpture
When a friend of artist Sarah Hurwitz told her that everything in her bathroom was covered with microscopic flakes of poop, she could not get the thought out of her head.
She was compelled to create a piece of installation art titled "Fecal Free," which is a life-size reproduction of her bathroom and everything in it, but totally sanitized. When it comes to artistic influences, Hurwitz says, "I try not to think of anything as too small or insignificant."
Not even microscopic flakes of poop.
A Phoenix native, Hurwitz moved back to the Valley eight months ago after getting a bachelor's degree in ceramics at the University of Colorado and a master's degree in two-dimensional art from the University of Arizona. She makes her living doing sculptural installations for the Burgeon Group, a company that creates interactive learning spaces at public libraries all over the Valley.
But Hurwitz also finds time to focus on her own artwork, which has been shown at galleries including Art One Gallery in Scottsdale and The Garage Gallery in Los Angeles. Her paintings, sculptures, and installations often blend pop culture and surreal imagery with inventories of everyday things in her life and themes such as lost childhood.
Themes are reflected in the titles of many of Hurwitz's works: a series of paintings titled "The People and Things that died over my Winter break," a collection of vinyl and fiberglass television sculptures titled "All the TV I watched in a Month," and a mixed-media installation titled "Sarah Hurwitz is fearless," which included tons of bugs drawn on oak tag paper, a werewolf painted on vinyl, and a wall-size painting of a little girl in a yellow dress walking through the deep, dark woods. Her exhibit "A Serious Show" featured painted collages of childhood images on inflatable vinyl sculptures.
"My work always somehow comes back to being about a repressed or delayed adolescence. It's always figurative and funny, but also depressing and sad," Hurwitz says. "I like to talk about life's minutiae, and this Seinfeld-like approach of taking unimportant things seriously."
Hurwitz's next solo show is scheduled for May at eye lounge in downtown Phoenix (where her "Sarah Hurwitz is fearless" exhibit created a buzz in January). It's a "butcher shop of imaginary animals."
"It's an idea I'd been playing with for a while," Hurwitz says. "Growing up seemed like this magical thing, where anything was possible, and if you got sick, you could stay up late and eat Lucky Charms. But when you grow up, you see it's not that way. You get sick and you have to go to work."
The installation explores what the world would be like if the mythical creatures of children's imaginations were real. What would adults do with them? Hurwitz visualizes a slaughterhouse. "If we had unicorns and Pegasuses, we'd just eat them like hamburgers," Hurwitz says. "Rather than ride around on them and do magical things."