Stephen Hobbs was born in Johannesburg in 1972. Since 1994, Johannesburg has served as a critical reference point for Hobbs’ artistic and curatorial insights into the apartheid-city-turned-African-city, with a particular interest in the impact of defensive urban planning and architecture on the behavioral aspects of city and society. Hobbs’ functions not only as a practicing studio artist and dedicated printmaker, but also as a public arts curator and advocate. Having recently relocated with his family to the Republic of Ireland, Hobbs is based between County Cork, London and Johannesburg. Hobbs’ printmaking practice is informed by the complex, often obfuscating, visual language and urban defensive planning used to construct cities. He works predominantly in etching, linocut and monotype, and his prints serve as a distillation of his practice – public and studio-based. Dazzle camouflage has been a key trope in Hobbs’ practice for many years – a zebra-like pattern used on gunships in the early 1900s to fragment the visual field of enemy sites in combat situations. Although dazzle patterning became obsolete after World War I, Hobbs has mined the potential that such visual deception presents for aesthetic reflection on dystopian urban environments. Since moving to Ireland, Hobbs has begun to activate a new making trajectory that began during his three-year-long research project resulting in his Permanent Culture exhibition in Cape Town in 2015, and which involved thinking in a different way about the intersections between defensive architecture, theatre and visual optics. Hobbs graduated from Wits University with a BAFA, in 1994. He was the curator of the Market Theatre Galleries (Johannesburg) from 1994 to 2000, and Co-Director of the purpose-built Gallery Premises (2004-2008) at the Joburg Theatre. Since 2001 he has co-directed the artist collaborative and public art consultancy, The Trinity Session, and since 2004 has co-produced a range of multi-medium urban and network-focused projects with Marcus Neustetter, under the collaborative name Hobbs/Neustetter. From 2017-2019, Hobbs joined the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, as Unit Leader and resident critic. Since 2002 The Trinity Session has provided consultative and turnkey services with regards to the development and procurement of various scales of public art, in most of the major metropolitan areas of South Africa.
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