Northeast Portland Neighborhoods

Laurelhurst artist CJ Hurley opens new show this month

(CJ Hurley)

(CJ Hurley)

Through his work, Northeast Portland artist CJ Hurley strives to unify art and life. With more than twenty years of experience, he describes his journey as an artist as an unfolding flower. His belief that all of the arts are of equal importance to the human environment is what inspires him.

Hurley spent the better part of this year isolated in his small studio inside his Laurelhurst neighborhood home creating new mixed-media paintings. The work is supported, in part, by a Project Grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council intended to help established artists further develop their work.

An exhibit of Hurley’s work will be on display from December 2 through January 3.

The exhibit will include five highly intricate and detailed paintings that Hurley created during the grant cycle. These will hang alongside a selection of other recent paintings, which will help demonstrate the evolution of his technique.

The concept of balance is the primary theme Hurley is exploring in this work. Many spiritual traditions speak of balance as the underlying principle of the universe. Hurley believes that a lack of balance results in disharmony and destructiveness.

He states, “The restoration of balance in both society and nature is an important idea for artistic exploration.”

Hurley has been working on the development of his artistic skills by investigating the relationship of 2- and 3-dimensional designs, combining sculpture, painting, and technical craft to create works of art that have the luminosity of cellular enameling and stained glass. He has sought to create highly unified works of art that combine very refined painting with sculpting mediums and found objects like glass, metal, wood, twine and things from nature.

Creating new art is an important aspect of fulfilling the requirements of a project grant from RACC, but recipients have further obligations including professional critique and sharing the work with the public. Hurley solicited review of his work from long-time mentor, artist and professor Jim Davies of North Carolina and Jennifer Zika, director of the Portland Art Museum’s Rental Sales Gallery. Both provided valuable feedback and strong encouragement to share the work with as many people as possible.

Davies appreciates that Hurley’s message in the work is left open ended so viewers can make their own interpretation. He encouraged Hurley to exhibit the work in a public location rather than a gallery that caters to a specialized audience.

On the complexity of the work, Hurley had this to say: “Many of the methods I have employed to create this work go back to a time when it took an artist years to produce one painting. The work is not the kind produced with the immediacy of such methods as Impressionism or Abstract Expressionism. I feel that the intricacy and fresh expression I’ve worked hard to develop with this painterly-sculptural mixed media work will appeal to an audience who gets excited about art that offers something new to look at upon each viewing.“

Hurley is nationally recognized for his work and is a Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisan and a member of the prestigious studio group, Northwest Designer Craftsmen. In addition to his painting, Hurley is also a designer with extensive knowledge in architectural history. In his business, CJ Hurley Century Arts, he applies the same ideals of the holistic integration of life and art into his designs for architecture as he does his freestanding artwork.

If you go
What: Exhibit of artwork by CJ Hurley
When: Opening Reception: December 6, 5-8 p.m. Meet the artist. Dates of exhibit: December 2-January 3.
Where: Olympic Mills Commerce Center, 107 S.E. Washington St.
More information:; (503) 234-4167

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