INTO THE STUDIO
Journal of a Mixed Media Photographer
In this talk, I start with my photography background and how my graduate studies of Surrealism led me to work in mixed media. Then I share the stories, inspirations and techniques behind the six different series on view at Gallery 291 – from the layered collage of Mapping the Body and Milagros, to the sculptures of Bottle Dreams and the still lives of Sanctuary and Evocations. I conclude with my newest work, mixed media collages that are about reaching into the darkness and finding an unexpected gift or blessing.
You can watch the video here on Vimeo:
I would love to know what you think.
The exhibition at Gallery 291 is officially over, but a selection of about 40 pieces can still be found in the smaller gallery there through December 24th. The show was such a high point for me personally. Never before have I had so much work – over 100 pieces spanning 18 years – up at the same time. I saw new threads and connections. It was really clear to me how much I love the tactile and working with actual objects and layers. Many of my newer pieces could be done with Photoshop, but that would eliminate the process of working with my hands at my work table, which is really where all the creative magic happens for me.
I also saw how I have consistently worked with certain kinds of materials – maps, tissue, handwriting, bottles, fish hooks, needles and more – to the point that they have become almost my own visual language. It was just really gratifying to see the relationships between my earlier work and my current work.
I am so grateful to Ed Carey at Gallery 291 for giving me this opportunity. A big thanks also to everyone who came out and saw the show. Today I am basking in the grace and support of this experience.
Here are a few pictures of my exhibition at Gallery 291 in Mill Valley, CA. This is the biggest show I have ever had, with 105 pieces of art! Some works were made as long ago as 18 years while others were completed just days before the show opened. I am really looking forward to sharing the meaning and inspiration behind this work at the Artist Talk on Thursday, November 13th at 6:30pm. If you are in the area I hope you will be able to make it.
I have been busy in the studio, creating a new series of mixed media collages and am really excited to be sharing them in a solo exhibit this October and November at Gallery 291 in Mill Valley, CA. At the heart of the new work is the experience of reaching into the darkness, the unknown, and having an unexpected gift or blessing arrive. Gallery 291 will be showing these pieces plus works from my 5 previous series as well – so it feels a bit like mid-career retrospective. If you are in the area, I hope you will get a chance to check it out and come to the reception or artist talk.
Mary Daniel Hobson: Mixed Media Photography
October – November 2014
Reception: Saturday, October 18th, 6:30pm
Artist Talk: Thursday, Novembe 13th at 6:30pm
Gallery 291 (at The Image Flow)
401 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, CA
Image Info: Invocation #1, ©2014, mixed media collage, 14 x 10″
“Just do your work.
And if the world needs your work, it will come and get you.
And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway.
You can have fantasies about having control over the world,
but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink.
That is the grace I am given.
Because when one can control things,
one is limited to one’s own vision.”
Image: Studio Work Table, ©2014 Mary Daniel Hobson
Six of us, myself included, gathered on a recent Monday evening in my studio to celebrate a friend’s birthday by making postcards for the Traveling Postcards Project. Amid the sounds of shuffling paper, scissors slicing and easy conversation, we each crafted a 4 x 6″card for an anonymous woman in need of support. It was a lovely way to channel our creative energy into a meaningful gift for someone else while enjoying tea and chocolate birthday cake.
The Traveling Postcards Project was founded by Caroline Lovell, and the cards created are delivered by her organization to women in shelters recovering from abuse. As Caroline says, “Creating postcards that incorporate both art and words may seem like a small action, but it is exactly what most women want; voice, visibility and compassionate caring. Receiving a card that is both beautiful and meaningful from a stranger is empowering. Knowing that you are not alone and that someone is trying to help can create resiliency. None of us can hope to effect change single handedly, but together, through collective action, we can help each other.”
For me, it was so inspiring to create art as an anonymous gift for someone else. I also loved offering a hands-on artmaking event in my studio. I realize, although I have hosted many events – from Open Studios to mentoring, group critiques, artist gatherings and more – that I have rarely pulled out the art supplies and invited people to just create with me in my studio, as most people that want to create postcards for a cause look into template postcard maker options available over the internet. It was such fun and I look forward to doing something like this again soon.
You could see the postcards we made that night on the Traveling Postcards facebook page. If you are interested in learning how to make your own card, please click here.