Sarah Hobbs: Out of Mind

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Untitled (Insomnia), 2000 Chromogenic Print On Dibond 48" X 60" © Courtesy of the artist and Solomon Projects
Sarah Hobbs: Out of Mind
Curated by: Ellen Fleurov

1015 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
January 25th, 2011 - March 12th, 2011

United States
Tuesday - Saturday, Noon - 6 p.m.
photography, conceptual
Free and open to the public.


Sometimes, there is only a slight degree of difference between what constitutes the normal and the abnormal in human behavior and thought.  Sarah Hobbs explores this psychologically charged terrain in Out of Mind, which features fifteen of her meticulously fabricated photographs created between 1999 and 2009.  Set almost entirely in domestic environments, each image focuses on some phobic, obsessive or neurotic tendency - pathological states that are highly individuated and yet experienced to some extent by even the most emotionally healthy of us.

Obsessiveness is seen as a room painted in chocolate, the empty candy wrappers discarded in a mound on the drop cloth.  A claustrophobic space filled with an infinite number of paint swatches symbolizes nightmarish indecision.  The act or process of purging is alluded to by the partially erased and ripped pages of a diary, now taped to a wall.

By turns discomfiting and familiar, empathetic and humorous, Sarah Hobbs' images fully engage with ideas of theatricality, fiction, and performance.  At the same time, her artistic practice has an affinity with the hyperprocess seen in the work of contemporary artists such as Liza Lou and Tom Friedman. This is particularly evident in the laborious (at times compulsive) use of ordinary as well as handcrafted materials: for example, the hundreds of origami birds affixed to the bathroom mirror in Denial (2008) or the shopping bags and stacks of paper transformed into homemade Rorschach tests in Until I See Something Good (2008).

People never appear in Sarah Hobbs' photographs although each bears the residue and implies the presence of some past or future occupant.  By her refusal tot identify a particular person in the scene and through the sheer magnitude of the images themselves, the artist forces us to assume an active role in completing the narrative.  "It's up to the viewer to contend with the space in their own mind and bring their own psychological make up to it," Hobbs commented.

Sarah Hobbs was born in Lynchburg, Virginia and earned both her BFA in art history and her MFA in photography from the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.  Her work was recently included in On the Scene: Kota Ezawa, Sarah Hobbs, and Angela Strassheim at The Art Institute of Chicago, and in Slightly Unbalanced, a touring exhibition organized by Independent Curators International in New York.  Hobbs' photographs are found in the colelctions of The Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Sir Elton John Collection; and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas.  She currently resides and works in Atlanta, Georgia.


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