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Response, Annie Giles Hobbs; review by Jennifer Pearce

(June 06, 2013)

Response, Annie Giles Hobbs

Response, Annie Giles Hobbs
, Annie Giles Hobbs 2013 - mixed media

Annie Giles Hobbs exhibited at Tenby Museum and Art Gallery in 2003, as part of the exhibition 'V6in10b2, Contemporary Printmakers in Wales'. Annie returns to this delightful museum, with the support of the Arts Council of Wales, to brings us Response, an exhibition of her recent work. Here, Annie uses Tenby's flora, fauna and landscape as part of the narrative and character of these untitled works.

Response, Annie Giles Hobbs - OrielResponse, Annie Giles Hobbs at Tenby Museum and Art Gallery

Friday evening's exhibition opening (31 May 2013) brought people in from the sunny beaches and bustling town of Tenby. Art-loving locals joined those who had travelled from farther afield, including the artist's family and friends, and colleagues from Cardiff School of Art and Design where Annie lectures in Fine Art Printmaking.

Annie's Cardiff-based studio is equipped for a variety of printmaking techniques. She employs a technique called collagraphy: a collage-like process that allows for layered compositions. The works in Response, make use of feathers, seaweed, leaves, lines of scrim, lace and other fabrics. These found-materials are etched into metal plates using a soft-ground process. The plates are used to produce the visual layering of colour multi-plate etching. Other textures and embossments are made and added using collagraphic plates, producing Annie's unique prints.


Response, Annie Giles HobbsUntitled, Annie Giles Hobbs 2013 - mixed media

These are monoprints; the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques. Essentially, they are a printed painting, combining printmaking, painting and drawing media. At first, the viewer experiences a clear composition. Then you notice line work, which traces faces or outlines of animals. With greater study, you can see the adept use of colour that helps harmonise the whole. The more you look at her works the more detail you see. Living with these works would be a rewarding experience. To allow the viewer's interpretation they are untitled. One could imagine that, like great poetry, the interpretations would change over time.


Response, Annie Giles HobbsUntitled, Annie Giles Hobbs 2013 - mixed media

Her subject matter references Early Renaissance art. Certainly, her figures have something of Botticelli and Hieronymus Bosch in their style, and in the way they gaze out at you languidly. Some of her figures seem playful and ethereal, like sprites or mermaids.

The mood of the pieces varies, but is always soulful and tender. Annie told me her work was about how we live today - "no-one is an island." Her figures always seem to relate to each other ... as sisters, or lovers, or parents and children. Affection is evident and, possibly, some tension. The compositions are seemingly straightforward, but at times it is hard to tell limb from limb or hair from hair; where one person ends and another begins. In an illusory technique worthy of M. C. Escher, you can't see how it's done.


Response, Annie Giles Hobbs - Girl, TenbyUntitled, Annie Giles Hobbs 2013 - mixed media

Birds, dogs and fish are other recurring motifs. These give you a sense of the human condition as being part of the wider realm of nature. Annie points out that we live with birds. They are all around us yet they go largely unnoticed and unexamined. It seems that ignoring the richness of the world and our place in the wider ecosystem is something that dismays her.

The works have been grouped to allow the richness of the themes and colours to come to the fore. One section is reminiscent of the deepest blue sea I have ever seen in the UK - that very day in Tenby. Some of the fabrics employed here create underwater scenes or fishing nets. Other groupings are autumnal and mossy, with bright feathers appearing to be held by the figures depicted. Others again are darker, densely layered, putting one in mind of Early Renaissance altar pieces.


Response, Annie Giles Hobbs - Tenby FishUntitled, Annie Giles Hobbs 2013 - mixed media

Annie has exhibited all over Wales, and across the globe. Her works are beautiful, interesting and charming, with something to say about the universal experience of being human. They are, unsurprisingly, consistently well-received.

This well-presented exhibition, featuring thirty works priced between £295 and £695, is open to the public daily between 10 am and 5 pm, and runs until Sunday 14 July 2013.

Jennifer Pearce, 6 June 2013

All images © the artist and/or author

Tenby Museum and Art Gallery
Castle Hill
SA70 7BP
Tel/Fax/Ffôn/Ffacs: +44(0)1834 842809

Twitter/trydar: @TenbyMuseum
Facebook: Tenby Museum & Art Gallery

Annie Giles Hobbs:

Jennifer Pearce - a volunteer with Made in Roath and g39, the artist-run gallery in central Cardiff - is the founder of Art Club and can be followed on Twitter

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Response, Annie Giles Hobbs, June 2013
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