Saturday, May 7, 2011

"... a Hobbs painting among its peers ..."

Brett Busang is a painter, writer, and critic who maintains a lively, informative, and cathartic blog called Painting is Dead and So Can I,  which I highly recommend to anyone for whom the word, "curmudgeon," has a certain appeal. We both lived for a time in Richmond, VA, haunting its alleys and byways with our easels while successfully eluding the glaring spotlight of both fame and fortune. Busang is not known for mincing words on matters artistic, so when I heard that he'd mentioned me in a recent post on his blog, I prepared myself as one might before stepping out into a hailstorm. Following is an excerpt of his post, which you may read in its entirety by clicking the link at the bottom.


"Frank Hobbs doesn't live in Richmond anymore, but professes to like it and may well return.  Choice of residence aside, Hobbs' contribution to the landscape is worth revisiting. 

His most visible work revolves around the poetry, if you will, of transportation.  It's formally exciting and has a terrific punch.  But his river paintings are, in my view, more compelling.  They are striking enough to attract art accumulators whose comfortable yearnings go only so far.  To see a Hobbs painting among its peers can be unsettling; if you don't watch yourself, it'll you wake up.


In his river paintings he gets at two very essential things: the vitality of fluid motion against the monumental forms of piers and bridges.  His delineation of
things is strong and subtle.  His bridges span the river, keep the traffic moving, and are not likely to cave in.  He understands that less is more, but is willing to show the effects of age - which can mean a lot on a bridge.  Because of his superior grasp of form, he never loses the big shapes that constitute an abstract design. 

Whether intentionally or not, Hobbs has made paintings that represent, not only a familiar subject, but something that does not cater to sentimental prejudices.   He's made good paintings and good paintings last." 

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