435 King Street East, Cambridge, ON
Stampede features a new installation by Barbara Hobot that marks a shift from the artist’s sculptural use of fabric and fur. The show combines three unique elements: a vinyl drawing referencing tomb engravings from the 16th century, a wall-mounted installation of over one hundred hand-crafted golden worms and a trinity of custom printed urban hoodies. Mixing ecclesiastical imagery with hip-hop fashion and her own irrational fear of earthworms, the artist explores unexpected connections between our desire for worldly goods and our inability to take it all with us into the afterlife.
Barbara Hobot holds an MFA from Western University and a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo. She has shown her work most recently at AKA Artist Run, Saskatoon; Elora Centre for the Arts; Art Gallery of Windsor, and DNA Artspace, London. Earlier shows were held at Art Mûr, Montreal; Harbourfront Centre, Toronto; Galerie Kurt im Hirsch, Berlin; Chiellerie Gallery, Amsterdam; and Weglowa Art Studios, Bialystok. Hobot has participated in artist residencies in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Exhibitions in 2016 include Strong Bonds at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, a group show at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, and a solo exhibition at Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto. She is the recipient of awards from the Ontario Arts Council and numerous academic scholarships. Hobot lives and works in Kitchener and is represented by Olga Korper Gallery.
List of Works
Stampede, 2009. Epoxy modeling clay, metallic pigment
Get Rich or Die Trying, 2009. Hand printed sweatshirts
Transi of Ralph Hamsterley, 2009. Vinyl
Ralph Hamsterley (d. 1518) was the rector of Oddington church in Gloucestershire and a fellow of Merton College in Oxford, England. This vinyl drawing is based on a memorial brass that was commissioned by Hamsterley and engraved circa 1510, years before his death.
Stampede debuts a new installation by Barbara Hobot. Although marking a shift from Hobot’s sculptural use of fabric and fur, this new body of work is a continuation of the artist’s search for meaning in the connection between luxury and death. The exhibition combines three unique elements: 15th and 16th century transi tombs, contemporary hip hop fashion, and the artist’s irrational fear of earthworms.
Prevalent in Western Europe after the horrors of the Black Plague, transis were tombs or headstone engravings commissioned for the ecclesiastic or elite that depicted the deceased, not as a revered member of society, but rather as a decomposing body writhing with frogs, snakes, and worms. Often inscribed with texts forewarning viewers of their immanent fate, the transi became a way for the pious and proud to show humility before reaching the afterlife. Hobot’s vinyl wall drawing, Transi of Ralph Hamsterley, is an altered depiction of just such a transi – that of Ralph Hamsterly, rector of Oddington church, England (d. 1518).
In Get Rich or Die Trying, Hobot references the contemporary fashion trend of decorated hoodie sweatshirts, often patterned with images of skulls and dollar signs. Instead, Hobot’s sweatshirts are patterned with images of gold worms. They become a kind of modern day shroud, ironically highlighting the unusual disjuncture between symbols of death and those of excessive luxury.
In the third element of her installation, Stampede, Hobot has handcrafted over one hundred earthworms out of epoxy modeling clay, which appear to be running amok on the gallery wall. Describing their mass congregation as a “worm uprising”, the artist has anointed each worm with a golden finish and adorned some with the most treasured of invertebrate bling: rhinestones. Their extravagant appearance and insurgent formation positions the worm no longer as a lowly creature, but an object of beauty and force to be reckoned with. As one French 15th century epitaph reads; “Miserable one, what reason have you to be proud? / Soon you will be as we / A fetid cadaver, food for worms”.