San Francisco

Fredric Hobbs

Fredric Hobbs Fine Art

The triptych is overpowering in its emotional intensity, in its relation to death and to antiquity. We have not felt such stimulation since viewing the masters. Hobbs is essentially a colorist and other considerations are kept subordinate so that the colors are free to relate their message. Colors meant to bear connotational freight are emphasized in the chiaroscuro manner by underpainting and glazing. Such glazed color creates its own image. The central blues, for instance, connote ancient time. The glowing oranges carry a spiritual hope. Color is further used to explore the very deep space in the triptych. As is common with Hobbs’ relief paintings, the basic constructional material is cement which is then painted and glazed. Colors with only environmental function, the background greens and yellows, for instance, are permitted to recede. Drawn images are also used—the skulls, the death angel, the sentinel, quasi-Oriental calligraphy—to carry out the themes of death and time. Mature and universal statement is achieved through full unification of color, draftsmanship and content. The principal influences on Hobbs were gained by study at the Prado in Spain. From Goya: the emotional power of the nightmare, from Velazques: brushwork, from El Greco: how to light from within, from the Venetians: the chiaroscuro technique, for Hobbs essentially constructs according to the distribution of light and shadow. But the masters gave him only examples, a canon for achievement. With The Atlantis Triptych Hobbs establishes his maturity as a stylist and color imagist of genuine originality.

Robert Olmsted