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Baltimore artist LaToya Hobbs shares universal story through unique art medium

Posted: 2:28 PM, Feb 15, 2022
Updated: 2022-02-15 18:24:32-05
LaToya Hobbs Artwork

BALTIMORE — LaToya Hobbs' spent nearly a year on her art piece that now hangs in five sections at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

"In my opinion, artists process starts way before they even pick up a pencil or carving tool or a paintbrush, and so that was the case for me," says Hobbs.

The piece is titled 'Carving Out Time' and she describes it as a portrait of her day, as a mother who home schools her two young boys with her husband and as a professional artist and art teacher.

Carving Out Time - Bedtime - LaToya Hobbs Artwork
'Carving Out Time' Installation at the Baltimore Museum of Art

"I am showing you my experience as an African American woman, as an artist and as an educator. But I feel like it's universal in terms of the themes that are also being explored," she says.

These themes, she adds, include motherhood, home and legacy.

In this piece, she is not only leaving a legacy for herself, but a tribute to other artists who've inspired her.

"In the scenes, you'll see artwork on the wall," says Hobbs. "So I'm specifically referencing other artists who have had an impact on my practice in some way."

LaToya Hobbs Artwork Discussion
LaToya Hobbs discusses a piece showing her in her studio to WMAR-2 News anchor Kelly Swoope.

The scenes depicting the five stages of Hobbs' day are carved out of wood panels.

The artist studied painting during her college years, but also does relief work, which involves carving out a matrix, like wood panels, and then using ink on the surface to make a print.

"I feel like for me, it's something that I love and enjoy, particularly the carving aspect of it because I feel really drawn to this sense of texture, which is what led me to the idea of presenting the matrix as the art object instead of just thinking about it as the production tool," she tells WMAR-2 News.

"It's not so common for someone to be presenting the tool of printmaking, as a painting in and of itself," says Leila Grothe, the curator of the exhibit 'All Due Respect' where Hobbs' piece is displayed.

"It's really unusual and she is so effective at getting texture and feeling and you know, emotion out of just simply carving wood. It's really astounding," Grothe added.

Discussing LaToya Hobbs Artwork
BMA employees discuss 'Carving Out Time' with artist LaToya Hobbs and WMAR-2 News anchor Kelly Swoope.

This large piece of art is just a part of a collection that Hobbs has been working on.

"I am working on this body of work called Salt of the Earth, basically personifying women as salt, in terms of us being preservers of our family, culture and community," she describes.

She specifically works to portray Black women in an authentic way.

"I think at the core of my work is a desire to take ownership of how our images are produced and kind of put out into the world. And so it's more an idea of me, taking the things that I love about my community that I love about the women in my community and putting that in the forefront," Hobbs says.

LaToya Hobbs 'Carving Out Time' panel
'Carving Out Time' panel depicting artist LaToya Hobbs in her studio surrounded by her artwork.

Hobbs and three other artists will take part in a panel discussion about their work in this BMA exhibit on Wednesday, February 16 at 6pm.