Artful Blogger

THE ARTFUL BLOGGER: Jonathan Hobin is being eyed by Time Magazine — and debuts his latest exhibit at the Shenkman Arts Centre

By Paul Gessell

"The Ring" has never been displayed in Ottawa. Photo by Jonathan Hobin.

I have to admit that Orleans is not my favourite destination, especially when road crews are repairing a car-swallowing sinkhole on Highway 174 and motorists are sent on perplexing detours badly in need of proper signage.

But enough about my problems. Despite the detours and despite the fact Orleans is not a frequent destination for art lovers, there is a good reason to head east to the Shenkman Centre and see the latest exhibition by Ottawa’s photo-artist extraordinaire, Jonathan Hobin.

The Hobin exhibition, Attic Urchins, at the Shenkman Centre is in the gallery run by the Ottawa School of Art. There you will find about a dozen of Hobin’s craftily staged photos.

Some of these images will be familiar to Hobin’s fans. Some are from his Mother Goose series in which costumed children acted out various nursery rhymes. Some of these rhymes veer into the dark side. In Jack and Jill, young Jill seems to have had a very bad fall, indeed. Her knees are skinned and she appears to be crying tears of blood.

There are also some images Hobin fans might not have seen before, including “Obama Nation.” Unfortunately, we can’t show that image on this website because Time Magazine is considering it for possible publication. Good for Hobin! Exposure in Time will not hurt his career.

For this eerie piece entitled "Adam's Apple," the writer says the narrative is unclear, but perhaps it's best to create your own. Photo by Jonathan Hobin.

“Obama Nation is,” like the Mother Goose series, staged with children and is part of a series called In The Playroom. A black boy, masquerading as President Obama stands in the middle of the picture. He is handing out Monopoly money to two other boys, one looking awfully sceptical and the other a boy dressed like a multi-tasking businessman who accepts the money, without even a thank-you, while talking on the phone to his cronies.

There are a few other images not exhibited before in Ottawa. They include “Adam’s Apple,” an eerie shot of a boy hovering slightly above the floor, holding a half-eaten apple in his hand. Writhing below is the snake, surely from the Garden of Eden. The narrative on this piece is unclear. Perhaps it is best to create your own.

Attic Urchins opened Sept. 13 and runs until Oct. 7. The vernissage will be held Sept. 22 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. That is the same day of Nuit Blanche in Ottawa. The timing of the vernissage is such that you can catch the Hobin opening before heading off to the ByWard Market and Hintonburg for all the evening and late night action.