Rebecca Anne Hobbs - Up with the fall, down on the diagonal
Exhibition: 26 September to 27 October, 2007
Work by Rebecca Anne Hobbs is layered with contradiction. Critically engaging with a dry sense of humour, her artworks traverse the line that distinguishes reality and fiction, the banal and the extraordinary, strong formal composition and quirky narrative happenings. Hobbs' staged scenarios fix curious antics and physical predicaments mid-action, often mid-air, pushing the photographic condition of 'capturing the moment' to the point of cliche. As subjects hang in a perpetual state of suspended narrative proposition and deferred action, the viewer is resigned to holding one's breath in an equally impossible state of empty anticipation.
Echoing the green-brown hues of undistinguished landscapes and cloudy skies, Up with the fall, down on the diagonal explores an increasingly understated approach to these strange occurrences, a departure from her previous works that fore-ground the subject. Instead, the subtle narrative interventions are imperceptibly absorbed within the formal framework of winding concrete pathways, the steep incline of a hillside, an ageing outdoor waterslide; the lacklustre elements that score the image surfaces with ruler-like precision.
The beauty of these deceptively modest works is in the realisation that it is the viewer who provides the punch line for Hobbs' humour. With apparently naive titles such as Bbbounce, Zig-zag and High, Hobbs cheekily mocks our earnest cultural consumption, and harmlessly pokes fun by adeptly pulling us in and out of the imagery, and so in and out of (self) consciousness. Like snapping out of a daydream we are waved into awareness by a tiny orange-costumed swimmer in Slip n' Slide; as if oblivious to our own significance we contemplate Photoshoot's timelessness, despite a self-referential title that professes it was predestined for this moment of viewing; and the bitter-sweet vision of a grounded boat at low tide, expectantly looking out to sea in Waiting, parallels our own inconsequential gaze toward the illusion of a horizon.
Rebecca Ann Hobbs was born in Townsville, Queensland in 1976 and currently lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne in 2002 and received a Masters of Fine Art from the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, in 2005. Although she is a relatively new contributor to the Australian contemporary arts scene Hobbs' work has been widely critically acclaimed within a short space of time. The recipient of multiple awards including the prestigious Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship in 2002, Rebecca has already had 5 solo exhibitions and has contributed to numerous group exhibitions including Light Sensitive, at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Stills Gallery is delighted to be presenting her first solo exhibition at the gallery.