MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2019
Artist StatementVisual images influence the psychological frame work upon which identity is established; particularly the images that one sees of those that are representative of their community. With this sensitivity to the importance of visual images in mind, I use portraits to explore the intersection of race, beauty and identity concerning women of African descent. My work facilitates an ongoing dialog about the Black Female Body in hopes to produce a more balanced perception of Black womanhood that dismantles prevailing stereotypes. Consequently, my work, serves as a platform that enables its subject(s) to engage in a visual dialogue with the viewer. In addition to painting, relief printmaking encompasses a significant part of my practice. The act of cutting away from my matrix (the surface of the wood or linoleum block) to shape an image is synonymous with the way one has to cut away negative ideologies imposed on them by others to expose or embrace their true selves. In this same sense, Black women have had to cut away the negative stereotypes imposed on them by external forces to express their true identity. My most recent developing series, Salt of the Earth, inspired by the biblical scripture Mathew 5:13, explores the personification of women as salt and their function as preservers of family, culture and community. In thinking about women as “preservers” in service to others I want to highlight the importance of self-preservation and examine how Black women engage in acts self-care or the lack thereof. Another underlying theme of this work is that of the “Modern Matriarch”. The works in this series chronicle women who function as traditional and non-traditional “Matriarchs” in their communities; some having birthed physical children while others have birthed ideas and communities. As this ongoing series continues to expand I will develop narrative portraits that give glimpses into the everyday trials and triumphs associated with Black womanhood with an emphasis on matriarchy and self-care.
LaToya M. Hobbs is a native of North Little Rock, AR and currently lives and works in Baltimore, MD. She received her BA in Studio Art with an emphasis in Painting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and MFA in Printmaking from Purdue University. LaToya’s work deals with figurative imagery that addresses the ideas of beauty and cultural identity while reexamining the traditional triadic artist, model, viewer, relationship. Her exhibition record includes several national and international exhibitions such as the Tulipamwe International Artists’ Exhibition at the National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia (Africa), Prizm Art Fair, Miami, FL, Salt of the Earthat the Community Folk Arts Center in Syracuse, NY, Abandoned Margins: Policing the Black Female Body, at Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL and the Promising Artists of the 21st Century Art Exhibitionat the Sophia Wananmaker Galleries in San Jose, Costa Rica among others. LaToya’s work has also been featured in Transition: An International Review, a publication of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and has recently been added to the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art. Additionally, LaToya devotes her time to teaching and inspiring young artists as a Professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art.