Sarah Hobbs
Small Problems in Living
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.
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