It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”             - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

The idea for “A Space For Everyone” revolves around my fascination with space and my interest in making figural sculpture as means of an exploratory tapping of the human condition; or in other words—probing the most fundamental things that influence and impact our collective experience in the world.

My work is made from clay. It is layered with many glazes and fired multiple times to achieve depth and complexity.  While it is tangible and occupies real volume in 3 dimensions, it comes from a subconscious and intuitive process.  Theoretically it examines inner, psychological space.  To me there is something profound in this notion. 

In my work the child figure signifies something I can only describe as “good” in humanity.  By casting a child in a bust I am suggesting a sense of reverence and nobility (Usually we associate sculpted busts with notable, powerful, or impressive figures such as presidents, kings, or memorable politicians). In a sense I am elevating the child to a near-mythic, respected status and giving praise —after all, children are our creative heart, our light, and our future. 

A Space For Everyone alludes to a place of acceptance and unity for all beings. With closed eyes and subtle smiles, these faces symbolize inward thought and act as dreamlike objects that exist between inner and outer worlds. They symbolize imagination, creativity, innocence, and they promote access to the child heart and mind that exists both within the individual and collectively in our unconsciousness. Their aesthetic conveys a sense of timelessness; they are like ancient artifacts from archaeological sites or childhood time capsules from some colorful, playful, wild, and whimsical universe. They express calmness; they are like contemplations and wishing wells in a time of civil unrest in America and beyond. 

The titles of the pieces suggest both universal and multi-worldly content and subject matter. “Lavender Girl” and “Boy Who Loves Girl” are neither black nor white, fully blue nor purple.  They are inspired by the universality of love and acceptance and, on a personal level, of living in a multi-racial relationship. “Girl In Two Worlds” drips with fields of shifting color and at closer look has facial features of mixed ethnicity. “Boy Who Dreams of Better World” stands in a sleepwalk stature like a stoic statue, dripping with hues of blues and greens that exude emotion and take us toward associations with the sea. “Boy Who Dreams of Rocket Ship” vibrates with naval orange and yellow; the title alludes to a means of leaving, of space travel and technology such as rockets (and in other works submarines). However, in the current political climate we cannot avoid associations with a historical memory of bombs, missiles, and war.

So, underneath, while appearing sweet and whimsical, there are serious undertones and motives. They are meant to be optimistic; they are meant to be precious; they are meant to be beautiful. They are symbols of that essence and light in world very much filled with darkness. 

Ceramics Monthly- Emerging artist 2017

Jacob Foran’s dreamlike narrative sculptures, with their references to outer space and underwater exploration, evoke feelings of curiosity about and discovery in environments that are very different from our own. The reflective glazing distorts the details of the forms, adding another level of mystery and ambiguity, while also making viewers more aware of themselves in relation to the pieces.  There is a resemblance to trophies—in the stylized forms and heroic stance of the figures, the use of the ceremonial vessel as a base, and the thick, platinum glaze that covers the forms—that leads one to think about achievements above and beyond the usual, as well as childhood dreams and goals.


In between dreams - abmeyer + wood

Jacob Foran's sculpture blurs the lines between narrative and abstract, eloquent and absurd, dream and reality. For Foran outer space and underwater are metaphorical landscapes that, respectively speaking, express the forces that exist around us and therefore influence the emotion within us. In his work, technology such as rockets, space suits, and diving helmets signify a physical boundary between humanity and environment. They symbolize exploration and discovery- a curiosity for the unknown, a fascination with creation, and a probing of life's beautiful fragility.

Beneath an Eyelid Lies a Moon - zinc contemporary

Jacob Foran’s ceramic sculptures investigate the psychological space of imagination. The forms of children and babies symbolize unbridled creativity and unlocking the inner child within the adult. They convey a sense timelessness- they are as ancient relics from an archaeological site or a futuristic time capsule from an alternate universe. The titles of the pieces even suggest other worldly origins with numeric names similar to systems of cataloging foreign objects such as asteroids and meteorites.

The materials emphasize conceptual references to outer space and states of ambiguity. The light reflected off of black metallic glazes of the ceramic sculptures create ever-changing abstract forms on the representational busts, creating cause for investigation- What are they made from? Are they solid as steel or liquid as mercury? Do they come from this Earth or elsewhere?

The childlike sculptures seemingly float in space on invisible orbital paths, revolving around the viewer, the center of this small solar system. The figures face each other in conversation- the older one giving wisdom to the younger and others looking on. The viewer stands in the center of this force field, absorbing the energy of the imaginative minds of youth.

Beneath an eyelid lies a moon alludes to the notion of the unity of inner and outer worlds, the interconnectivity of all things. With closed eyes and subtle smiles, Jacob’s sculptures softly modeled faces symbolize inner thought and convey a calm state of being. It’s been said by scientists that we are made of stardust. When we close our eyes and see the thoughts of our imagination, are we also seeing the universe?

  --- By Cat Snapp; ZINC contemporary, September 2016

HEAdspace - designboom

american artist jacob foran held a solo exhibition entitled 'headspace', a series of large ceramic forms at the university of washington-seattle's 3D4M gallery. arranged in varying heights of five to ten feet tall, the sculptures largely resemble giant diving bells of bright and bold colours.

'my work embodies theme of desire and fantasy. influenced by a port-town setting, water and submarine life have become a potent place of metaphor. physical representations of nauticalexploration symbolize a quest for understanding -- an investigation that is inseparable from mymethodology as an artist and my interest in the subconscious. Imagery of diving gear represents armor that provides a stable internal environment in a pressure filled atmosphere…–jacob foran

in addition to helmets and armor, foran considers his sculptures to be a form of shelter and private chambers. the diving bells symbolically represent a barrier between one self and the pressures of the outside world. though the sculptures are large enough to physically crawl into, there is no literal point of entry. this, coupled with the playful way in which they are constructed suggest another form of protection--a barrier built with imagination and fantasy.

by Erica Kim, Designboom

headspace- beautiful decay

Jacob Foran‘s latest series, “Headspace” celebrates exploration and fantasy. The diving helmets represent a sort of creative sanctuary just as real armor-like diving helmets protect the wearer from the dangers of underwater pressure, (and sea creatures). Foran returns to the creative fairytale worlds of childhood, this time as an adult, with more mature musings about the “pressure-filled” world we live in.

contextual Statement

 Throughout my early career, subjects of childhood, imagination, landscape, water and space travel have become central themes for content expression.  Clay is my chosen material; ceramic is my chosen medium. 

My process is informed by an interest in figural sculpture and the ceramic vessel, both of which deal with inner space.   Simply put, my work is intuitive and my sculptures are physical artifacts from my mind.  

My interest in the mind, imagination, fantasy, exploration, creation, ancient civilizations, fragmentation, space, time, objects and their material properties are the wide blast of influences that make up my image base. 

Recent work combines figure, vessel, and abstraction.  I am interested in exploring psychological spaces and expressing energy, feelings, dreams, memories, and states of being that exist within.  Aqueous looking reflective glazes envelop the head (and landscape), calling into question how light and space around a figure impacts our understandings of it.  I focus on states of ambiguity, communicating the fundamentally metamorphic and fluid realm of human experience. 

While  tangibly made from clay, conceptually-- like the “Dangos” and Heads of Jun Kaneko-- my work is “constituted in the immateriality of space just as much as in the physicality of 3-Dimensional form” (Glen R. Brown. Jun Kaneko, The Surface Figures; The Figure Surfaces. Ceramics Monthly, March, 2016. p. 35).  I am fascinated by creative process, metaphysics, and branches of philosophy that examine the Void.  My engagement with creative process and commitment to accessing work from the unknown is perhaps unifying in a relatively diverse body of work.

My philosophy and evolution as an artist has been influenced most by a mindset of learning about the world through creative process and through the creative work of others.  As Picasso stated, “I do not seek, I find.”  Early inspiration may be attributed to deep interests in historical human statuary across the world as well as the writing of Paul Sheppard and C.S. Lewis.  I was originally fascinated by Lewis’ idea of a portal, and a universe existing just beyond.  My early works drew from mythology and evoked a sense of co-existence of humans and animals within the landscape.  Thereafter, I began sculpting purely from my own imagination, creating character portraits ornate with head ware that suggested imaginative roles within an inner culture (see Inner Worlds). 

Eventually the underlying beliefs and values in research prior to Master’s thesis work led me to artists and thinkers such as Mark Rothko and Carl Jung who explore concepts of the unknown, sub consciousness, liminal spaces, and the sublime. My work began to focus on more abstract ideas, taking the form of ceramic submarines and heads reminiscent of diving helmets.  As much as they were helmets and machines, they were symbolic chambers and they were physical boundaries of material at a place of threshold between human and environment.  It was designed to function by activating mind and imagination within the viewer rather than to evoke and personify inner gaze as formerly depicted through representations of human portrait heads and figuration.  I consider my thesis work (see Bathyscaphe; Headspace Series, In Between Object) a significant breakthrough period and while I was attempting to push the limits of scale in contemporary ceramics I was invested in contemplating the relationship between the objects I was making their elemental material properties.  I found a profound connection between what was physically created and the open space displaced from the earth.  I realized that at some point in time, like all ceramic sculptures made in the past, they shall return to shards and dust at some point in the future.