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Jonathan Hobin returns with Little Lady / Little Man

By Ryan Saxby Hill on March 15, 2012

Regular readers of Apartment613 will remember the haunting yet beautiful images from the show In The Playroom at the Dale Smith Gallery. Jonathan Hobin, the artist behind that show, returns with a new series on display at the City Hall Art Gallery. The show titled Little Lady / Little Man opens this evening with a reception starting at 5:30pm.

The work is a personal series featuring photographs of Hobin’s grandparents taken on their deathbeds, combined with images from other periods of their lives. At first viewing, the images (at least those available by email in advance of the opening) seem like a departure from the bright and lively work of In the Playroom.

“The connectivity between this body of work and other bodies of work are two lullabies that my grandfather sang to us as children,” said Hobin. His grandfather recorded two songs secretly when he thought he was dying, and the titles of the songs become inspiration for the title of the show.

The strong link between Hobin’s family and Ottawa is cemented through several photos of Hobin’s grandmother that were taken by Yousuf Karsh. “I realized that Karsh and I had shared the same subject matter, but with a 70 year difference,” said Hobin, adding an interesting connection to the local arts scene.

Hobin is going into this new show ready for a strong reaction. “I learned [from experience with In The Playroom] that sometimes happy accidents can come out of nowhere and that even out of Ottawa you get noticed internationally,” said Hobin, adding that it’s not all positive.

“When a mass audience gets to see your work you have to be prepared to hear the full gamut of responses, some extremely positive and some extremely negative.”

If history is any guide, this latest work from Hobin is certainly not to be missed. For a full discussion with Hobin, tune into Apartment613 Live this afternoon at 4pm on CHUO 89.1FM or mark you calendars for April 1 at 2pm, when Hobin will give an artist talk at the City Hall Art Gallery.