Rebecca Ann Hobbs: Failing, falling, flying
1 July 2010 - 31 July 2010
Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Spin, 2006, photograph.
Rebecca Ann Hobbs arrived in New Zealand five years ago after finishing her Master of Fine Arts at the California Institute of the Arts. Having worked extensively in Australia and California, her exhibition at ST PAUL St represents the first major showing of her work in New Zealand.
There is a literal quality to the construction of Hobbs’ works; they are stylised jokes, laying out of the ta-dah moment for all to see. The mental double take caused by the upside down mound in Over Easy (2006) or the absurdity of the human tumbleweeds rolling across a classic Western setting in Tumbleweed (2005) demonstrate how Hobbs uses humour to reveal the constructed quality of these mediums. Indeed, much of Hobbs’ works is preoccupied with qualities that are specific to the mediums of photography and video such as the decisive moment, and the conventions of cinematic language.
Hobbs’ photographs freeze movement, leaving us with the surreal and awkward instant when an animated thing is paused in mid-flight, mid-fall or mid-bang. In her recent New Zealand work figures cling to the top of a Cabbage Tree in High (2006) or fall down the stairs in Spin (2006) depicting scenarios which are both carefree and danger full and using the frozen moment to capture the riskiness of play and the absurdity of a situation. In contrast her video works explore the conventions of cinema through the circling camera and the moving form. Her compelling video Ah-round (2008) lampoons our notions of the romantic ‘Other’ with this circling, the camera motion revealing satellite dishes, urban brick houses, a polo shirt and a man-made ceiling in the "jungle" of potted plants in a greenhouse.
Rebecca Hobbs first came to public attention in 2001 with her photographic series Suck Roar a collection of staged self-portraits with animals. She was the recipient of a Samstag Scholarship in 2002, a finalist in the 2009 Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Award and has work in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. She has exhibited extensively in Australia including at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, the Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen and the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney. Rebecca Ann Hobbs is a lecturer at Manukau Institute of Technology.