Over the years, Hobbie’s style has evolved from early days spent painting in an almost miniature scale to a later body of work that includes multiple subjects and more loaded scenarios. In 2012’s Infant, for instance, we see a young woman—pensive, chewing her thumb—not paying much attention to a nude baby sprawled out on a blanket before her. Another woman cranes over the first’s shoulder, shooting the child an almost vicious glance. It’s a complex picture, and one meant to solicit questions (Whose baby is this? Why does no one seem very happy that it’s there?). In another painting from the same year, entitled Cocktail Party, a grandma with purple-tinted hair holds a different newborn, as well as a rocks glass, as an unknown person’s exposed breast looms over her shoulder.
Hobbie has excised this thread of enigmatic storytelling from her more recent work. Now, we see mostly single figures, their histories unreadable, their bodies hedged in by evermore wild, conflicted patterning. It’s not hard to imagine a stage in which the subject disappears entirely, or is reduced to a single gesture or limb—a pale arm flung out on a wild blanket in a field of flowers.
“Do you feel like they’re too cacophonous?” Hobbie asked before I left. “Do you feel like you’re looking for a break?”
The answers, happily, are “no” and “no.” There’s a simple delight in this artist’s anti-minimalism. Hobbie’s disjointed, harmonious thing is pure pleasure.