STANFORD, CA.- The Stanford University Libraries and the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University present the exhibition "Experiments in Navigation: The Art of Charles Hobson, which opens at two locations on campus April 30. Hobsons work explores themes of classical mythology, astronomy, surrealism, shipwrecks, and love affairs of famous historical figures, among other topics, through the medium of the artists book.
Hobson earned a law degree and worked in the legal field for 20 years before completing a B.A. in fine art at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he has been on the faculty since 1990. He began publishing his own limited edition artists books in 1988. In May 2007, Hobson donated his extensive archive of design and production materials related to the 30 books he has produced over the past two decades to the Stanford Libraries Special Collections. This archive supplements the libraries complete collection of his published works and illuminates his creative process from concept through physical design and implementation to finished book through research notes, studies, proofs, prototypes, patterns and jigs, and correspondence with authors and fellow artists with whom he has collaborated.
The exhibition presents Hobsons art and artistic process, with a different focus at each of two locations. Through July 6, 2008 in the Lynn Krywick Gibbons Gallery at the Cantor Arts Center, four of Hobsons book works are displayed with larger works on paper that he created in conjunction with each book. Parisian Encounters (1994), Andromeda Imagined (1998), Writing on the Body (1999), and The Writer (2004) are shown along with monoprints, photogravures, drawings, and collages.
In Green Librarys Peterson Gallery through August 17, additional books, among them Flaubert & Louise: Letters and Impressions (1988), Leonardo Knows Baseball (1990), Clouds and Dreams (1995), and Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes (2002), are on view in 20 cases with related materials from the archive, accompanied by labels explaining how Hobson conceived and developed each book idea using both hand processes and digital technology. "The 'big idea' which is the subject of an artist's book," Hobson commented, "depends on a host of small ideas that present themselves in unexpected ways, often sparked by the materials and the techniques that reach one's hands."
May Castleberry, editor of a series of books by artists for the Library Council of the Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., writes of his work, Hobson explores the tactility and three-dimensionality of the book in ways that few other artists have. He creates unexpected and interactive book structures accordion folds, concertinas, double bindings, cutouts, and hybrids of these forms. These structures usually echo and articulate the two-dimensional visual as well as the narrative content of each book.
The exhibition is made possible by the Lynn Krywick Gibbons Exhibitions Fund and Stanford University Libraries, Department of Special Collections.