Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts

Spring Hurlbut Visual artist

Spring Hurlbut on the investigation of mortality and the celebration of life

A film by Scott Dobson

"Hurlbut gives form to loss… picturing the dissolution of life as a boundless continuum."

“Spring Hurlbut’s contemplative and eloquent works unsentimentally address mortality and our inevitable destiny in death. Her dedication to a subject so commonly avoided in contemporary Western culture is singular and courageous.

Whether in her use of bones as sculptural material, her work with found objects and museum collections of specimens of natural life, or her photographs of cremated ashes, Hurlbut addresses her subjects with a quiet and patient insistence on recognizing – and for the viewer to recognize – their essence. Minimal, solemn and starkly refined, her work is also richly detailed, emotionally charged and sublimely beautiful. Its affective resonance resides in the tension between the clearly stated and the intractably complex. Hurlbut gives form to loss… picturing the dissolution of life as a boundless continuum.”

- Jessica Bradley, curator (nominator)

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See this artist’s work in the Art Bank collection

Selected works

Spring Hurlbut, Sacrificial Ornament, Artemi, 1990, ram horns and plaster, 61 x 61 x 30.5 cm. Private collection. Photo: Robert Keziere

Spring Hurlbut, Sacrificial Ornament, Artemi, 1990, ram horns and plaster, 61 x 61 x 30.5 cm. Private collection. Photo: Robert Keziere

Spring Hurlbut, Le Jardin du Sommeil, 1995-2009, 140 antique and vintage metal children’s beds & cradles, collected in Canada and France. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal collection. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Spring Hurlbut, Le Jardin du Sommeil, 1995-2009, 140 antique and vintage metal children’s beds & cradles, collected in Canada and France. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal collection. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Spring Hurlbut, The Final Sleep/Le Dernier Sommeil, 2001, Foreground: Mute and Trumpeter swan skins, Background: Ptarmigan bird skins, duck skeletons in a row, two Albino beavers. Royal Ontario Museum collection

Spring Hurlbut, The Final Sleep/Le Dernier Sommeil, 2001, Foreground: Mute and Trumpeter swan skins, Background: Ptarmigan bird skins, duck skeletons in a row, two Albino beavers. Royal Ontario Museum collection

Spring Hurlbut, Deuil, Scarlett #1 and #2, 2005, photography / archival pigment print, diptych size: 57.15 x 187.96 cm. National Gallery of Canada collection

Spring Hurlbut, Deuil, Scarlett #1 and #2, 2005, photography / archival pigment print, diptych size: 57.15 x 187.96 cm. National Gallery of Canada collection

Spring Hurlbut, After Malevich: The Moment of Dissolution, Nutmeg #2, 2016, photography / archival pigment print, 64.14 x 64.14 cm. Albright - Knox Gallery collection

Spring Hurlbut, After Malevich: The Moment of Dissolution, Nutmeg #2, 2016, photography / archival pigment print, 64.14 x 64.14 cm. Albright - Knox Gallery collection

Spring Hurlbut, A Fine Line, Arnaud #2, 2016, photography / archival pigment print, 69.53 x 69.53 cm. Private collection

Spring Hurlbut, A Fine Line, Arnaud #2, 2016, photography / archival pigment print, 69.53 x 69.53 cm. Private collection

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