Sarah Hobbs's carefully
staged photographs explore phobias and obsessive compulsive behavior.
Her wit and sensitivity towards this touchy subject matter creates
a familiarity and accessibility which allows the viewer to become
engaged with the work. Like other contemporary photographers of
her generation such as Gregory Crewdson and Thomas Demand, Hobbs
no longer uses the medium as a means of passively experiencing
the world behind the camera lens, but actively "constructs"
worlds using photography.
Hobbs's artistic process begins by researching human behavior
and phobias. She then sets out to present her vision in three
dimensional form. Sometimes this process comes to her quickly,
but other times it may take months for her to translate her mental
image into an environment that will then be photographed. Her
Atlanta home, which also acts as her studio, consistently provides
the backdrop for her photography. The domestic setting and its
interiors create a mood in the work that aptly mirrors what is
going on inside her mind. The large format of her photographs
(60 x 48 inches) is integral in engaging the viewer in the physical
and psychological space of the photograph. Although Hobbs may
suggest a human presence within the work, she never actually includes
a person in the setting; by printing roughly life-size images,
the viewer assumes that role.
What sets Hobbs apart from other photographers working in a similar
vein is that she both constructs an illusion and at the same time
exposes its materiality to the viewer. A recent development in
her work is a series of photographs created with the elements
from her deconstructed environments. The series Hoarding (2003),
installed in the front room of the gallery, presents her materials
on a small, dark table. In contrast to the large-scale works concerned
with "problem" behavior, the small photographs feel
more like the result of psychoanalysis: controlled, neatly stacked,
perfectly piled and orderly.
The artist has been photographing since she was seven years old.
"Small Problems in Living" is her sixth photographic
series which explores and expands on the theme of human behavior
and psyche. In addition to photography, Hobbs has been greatly
influenced by her study of art history, and in particular by the
work of Edward Hopper, Marcel Duchamp and Cornelia Parker. This
is Hobbs's first solo exhibition.