Untitled (new visions)
Maggie Groat and Barbara Hobot
January 23 to February 28, 2015
Untitled (new visions) continues a dialogue between the works of Maggie Groat and Barbara Hobot. A conversation between artistic practices began in the fall of 2013 that forged the first iteration of this visual relationship in an exhibition called Untitled (the possibilities of voids and the sentience of things) at Elora Centre for the Arts. Untitled (new visions) introduces new works by both artists as well as a renegotiation of existing elements of the former exhibition. The works perform together. Collage and sculpture interact. Reflections from one work illuminate another. Studies from the artist’s individual practices mirror and undulate proposing alternative modes of knowledge production and evocations of possible truth.
The curatorial thesis behind Untitled is inspired by Elaine Scarry’s Imagining Flowers: Perceptual Mimesis (Particularly Delphinium) and the idea that the presence of a flower triggers dreams, ghosts of recognition and/or memory. Scarry’s discussion of the sentience of flowers and the power of absence/presence gave way to considerations of the life of the object, the charged space between the real and the false and associative meaning. In Untitled, the artists approach their practices from an investigative perspective; perhaps Groat is a shaman and Hobot is an enabler. However visually divergent, their works are concerned with studying, revealing and considering the form, function and life of their subject matter.
Groat presents modes of exploration through a variety of mediums: the found image, the found object, a hand made functional item. She moves through everyday magic. Her works are objects, bringing a past life while Groat adds her voice therein creating a shared history. In Untitled, her process is set within the gallery, a space to work through these ideas in public. She conducts a visual dialogue with herself and her past work, with the canon of artists before her, as well as her peers and public.
Similarly, Hobot creates studies and propositions focusing on human centered ways of understanding the world. She explores the intersection of our reality and the reality that lies beyond. Her works consider the duality of the real and the false. Through her formal, abstract drawing practice she simulates, slices, cuts away and reveals the life of the interior. Borrowing from Baudrillard, the simulacra or faux elements in Hobot’s work are proposals for truth. Hobot’s hand is not prescriptive, instead she creates a space facilitating the possibility of getting out of the body, experiencing the void, the prospect of what lies behind the surface.
Both artists have evolved practices that demonstrate curiosity, criticality, whimsy and rigor, creating work that promotes both serious consideration and light-hearted enjoyment and wonder. Together, the works in Untitled are coupled in an exchange, at once connecting and diverging, but all the while positing the relevance of imagination and possibility.
Barbara Hobot is a recent MFA graduate from Western University, London, Ontario and she holds a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo. She has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally with exhibitions at Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto; DNA Artspace, London (ON); Art Mûr, Montreal; Galerie Kurt im Hirsch, Berlin; and Chiellerie Gallery, Amsterdam. Apart from her solo practice, she periodically collaborates with fellow artist Patrick Cull. Most recently, the pair offered a mobile knife-sharpening service as part of the Windsor-Essex Triennial at the Art Gallery of Windsor. Hobot has participated in residencies in Canada, the United States, and Europe and is the recipient of awards from the Ontario Arts Council among other foundations. She lives and works in Kitchener, Ontario and is represented by Olga Korper Gallery. barbarahobot.com
Maggie Groat is a visual artist working in a variety of media including collage, sculpture, artists’ books, site-specific interventions, and field studies. Forming an ongoing research-based practice, Groat’s work explores studies for possible futures, salvage practices, and relationships and reconnections to place, from an indigenous/settler perspective. Through reconfiguring and recontextualizing found materials, she assembles collages, sculptures, tools and texts that enable moments of envisioning and the potential for action. Maggie studied visual art and philosophy at York University before attending The University of Guelph, where she received an MFA degree in 2010. She is represented by Erin Stump Projects in Toronto and currently lives on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. maggiegroat.com
Barbara Hobot, Gaps Full of Potential, 2014. Hand-cut mahogany veneer and acrylic on paper.