“My work seeks to find throughlines from the ancient past to present to future. I want to know how things change through time and how they stay the same.”
- Morgan Hobbs
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present Chronolith, Morgan Hobbs’ first solo exhibition in Philadelphia and with the gallery.
Guest writer Lauren Whearty says: “Hobbs’ body of work focuses on the slow and methodical process of building a language - a new form of communication through paint, papier-mâché, and image. Each symbolic form is a building block for a wide array of possibilities with the potential to make new meaning through different combinations, or to break down the strength of an individual symbol into a more democratic piece of a larger whole.
While I recognized many of the symbols from her previous bodies of work, like the interiors in her Bell the Cat series, the forms now exist on their own free to roam the studio and assert themselves as sculptures and whole compositions in dimensional paintings. The forms are still understood as ornamental symbols, however, the mass of the sculptures and the dimensional qualities in the paintings give a more architectural feeling and weight to each glyph. The duality of the actual weight vs the perceptual weight is just one of the many elements of tension presented in this work. The works also perform a balancing act between painting and sculpture, and between the single vs the many.
Hobbs doesn’t give us the opportunity to fully grasp these works in any one sitting. Like investigating a lost civilization, we cannot ask the people questions, and Hobbs doesn’t give us all of the answers. We are given a rich body of material and symbolic language to navigate and interpret on our own. As the viewer, we are also the ones who complete the meaning through our own relationships with the symbols and our experience with the art. In art, life, and archeology we are limited to our own perspectives and time periods. Hobbs makes that a point of excitement,” (Whearty’s statements have been lightly edited for style and length).
Morgan Hobbs is an artist from Kansas City, Missouri. She studied historical and prehistoric archaeology in conjunction with her fine arts training at the University of Central Missouri. Now living in Philadelphia, these investigations take on new meaning and urgency, and through her art practice, Hobbs seeks a deeper understanding of the visions and symbols depicted on historic buildings and monuments throughout her neighborhood.
Hobbs has shown her paintings and sculptures both regionally and nationally, including at Satellite Projects in Miami; 33 Orchard in the Lower East Side; Art Market Hamptons; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum and more. She has presented her work and writing at Mount Gretna School of Art; Texas A&M International University, Laredo; Tyler School of Art at Temple University; Pennsylvania College of Art and Design; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the National Conference for Undergraduate Research, Ogden, Utah.
She has received awards such as the Hemera Contemplative Fellowship in 2020, the Linda Lee Alter Award, and the Faculty Award at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she received her MFA. She was a co-founder of AUTOMAT Gallery and is the Assistant Director of Gross McCleaf Gallery where she is also represented.
(Image Right: Proto-Primrose, 24″ x 18″, Oil On Canvas)
November 16 - December 23, 2023
Reception: Saturday, December 2, 1 - 4 pm