22 May 2023
By Elaine Murphy
25 May – 23 June
Opening: 25 May, 6pm, Studio 12, Backwater Artist Group.
Artist Talk: 27 May, 4pm, Lavit Gallery – Vernacular Safari – Stephen Hobbs and Brian Mac Domhnaill in Conversation
Hobbs’ installation House Arrest in Pink draws viewers into a pscyho-spatial translation of life during lockdown. Living rurally, 5km travel restrictions imposed at the time, made access to basic ‘art’ materials a near impossibility. For the months that followed Hobbs upcycled online purchase packaging boxes into mixed media drawings and implied architectural forms, in direct response to the Jack Fitzsimons inspired bungalow rental he and family occupied north of Cork City. The housing revolution in rural Ireland can be attributed in large part to Fitzsimons’s practical approach to modern housing, as evinced in his best-selling book Bungalow Bliss, first published in 1971 – very much responsible for pulling rural housing out of famine era living conditions into a modern dignified offering. Hobbs and family originating from South Africa, spent a total of 19 months in Cork, before returning to South Africa in July of 2021.
Subsequently Hobbs’ artistic reflections on living in Ireland during the height of the pandemic have been reconciled and reconfigured through remnants of memories, actions, and installations into two bespoke exhibitions; A Short life with Bungalow Bliss at David Krut Projects, and Shallow Sleep at his studio in Maboneng in Johannesburg.
Through cross-pollination of Hobbs’s ‘Box’ Works, his recent installations in Johannesburg and visual sampling from Jack Fitzsimons’s iconic publication, Hobbs will adapt Studio 12 into an immersive installation drawing from this three year period of extreme shifts in living and lifestyle realities.
Find more information about the exhibition at House Arrest in Pink