If you live in a city, or spend a lot of time in one, it’s hard to deny the duality of the world we’ve created there. On the one hand there’s the smog-choked, oil can construction zone we keep pushing forward in the name of progress, a world as an over-polluted urban blight. Then there’s the environmental utopia we’ve all come to idealize because we live in the midst of said urban blight.
You don’t need to tell me. I tend to obsess over the grim aesthetic of dystopic urban downfall. Hell, I can even appreciate a casual obliteration of civilization every once in a while. But even so, I still like clean fresh air, and deep down I know that no matter how many hybrids hit the roads, and how purple the faces of the environmentalists rallying at City Halls, we’re grinding out a progress trap no single nation’s idealism will save us from.
Fortunately for those of us who hate rambling speeches (from Al Gore or otherwise) and prefer to have our guilt served in eye-catching spoonfuls, there are experimental artists out there to interpret our progress-oriented/nature-loving duality. Evan Hobart is one of them, doing his best to throw all our shit back in our faces saying, “look WTF you’re doing!” All of Hobart’s sculptures probe the ramifications of our duality, and are done using very lovingly pulled ceramic clay.
Last month I attended the Ceramics Annual of America event at Fort Mason in San Francisco and got a chance to see Hobart’s work up close and personal. His pieces threw me. Whatever you might think, no bear skulls were used in the making of these objects. He doesn’t actually use any skulls at all. Instead he crafts each cityscape and skull, as he told me, from the bottom up without blueprints or pre-planning of any kind, but merely sets into action his creativity and sense of outrage about just what we’re doing to the delicate machinations of nature.
The following represent a selection of Hobart’s work coming out of his Marin County, California studio. All these pieces are for sale (excluding of course those already sold). So go pick one up, display it proudly in your very ungreen apartment and show your appreciation for man’s duality.
If you like seeing artists wax creative over the (mega)cities in which they dwell, I explored this concept a few months ago in a post on this very blog.
Due to the nature of sculpture, it’s not easy to get a full appreciation of each one of these by merely looking at their pictures. If you’re ever in San Francisco, however, I recommend crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and visiting Hobart’s studio to see these amazing works for yourself.
Below is a little stop motion animation Hobart created to dictate his workflow, but in my opinion it shows the way we’ve gotten where we are in our battle against clean air and water. First the wildlife, then city encroaching its territory, then finally its sooty roots and a total eclipse of the wildlife that once lived there. Egad.
Click to see the embedded media.
If Hobart’s sculptures are intriguing, I highly recommend checking out his drawings. They’re pretty wild too.