Southside Gallery exhibit inspired by Blair Hobbs visit to Italy

Published 6:00 am Sunday, October 16, 2016

Can’t make the time for a trip to Italy? That’s okay, because during the month of October you can visit the Southside Gallery on the Square and see the new exhibition “Roman Holiday,” which has works representing a trio of artists’ journey through the country.

The concept for the exhibit came to featured artist Blair Hobbs after a visit to Italy with her husband, John T. Edge, last year. Her friends, Billy Renkl and Susan Bryant (who are also married) had similarly made a recent trip to the country. Hobbs presented gallery director Wil Cook with the idea of showcasing the three artists’ Italian-inspired pieces.

Hobbs finds that Italy, and more specifically, Rome, influence her as an artist.

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“The history of civilization is tangible,” Hobbs said. “I could feel it under my feet, in the walls around me, in the ceilings above my head.  That history and its culture is rendered in the most beautiful architecture, paintings, sculptures, and paintings.  It’s beyond soul-stirring.”

Hobbs’ multimedia work on canvas combines drawing and collage techniques with abstract and surreal imagery. Bryant will be showcasing two series of photographs entitled “Italian Gestures” and “Italian Vistas”. Renkl’s work on display features Italian architecture done through the lens of collage.

“My work for this exhibit is based on memory,” Hobbs said of her “dreamy canvases” chosen for the gallery. “I started looking at photographs and got sort of overwhelmed, so I closed my photos and went to work.  I let myself misremember and I started having fun mixing things up.”

“Roman Holiday” opened on October 4 and will run till Oct. 30. There will be an artists’ reception on Oct. 27 at the gallery from 6 to 8 p.m.