By Joanne Latimer - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 0 Comments
A photo exhibit in Ottawa portrays children in troubling tableaux taken from news headlines
“My son calls it the House of Horrors,” laughs Jane Steinberg, 57, an Ottawa trademark lawyer who has four photos from artist Jonathan Hobin’s Mother Goose series displayed up her staircase, where everyone can see them. “Some people stop climbing the stairs to scrutinize every detail, while others go upstairs and don’t say a single word. It surprises me they can pass by without comment.” Maybe they’re stunned by the blood splatter. Hobin’s Mother Goose is a macabre interpretation: Jumping Joan in a straightjacket; Jeremiah Obadiah leaning against a bloody sink; Polly Flinders with whip marks across her back. The photographer’s models in those photos, children of family friends, have deadpan expressions that range from defiance to apathy.
The children who appear in his new series, In The Playroom, are a combination of professional child models who worked for free (to gain experience) or again, they’re children of family friends. “People accused me of putting those kids through hell and asked if they could sleep at night,” recalled Hobin, 30, who is now preparing to show In The Playroom at Ottawa’s Dale Smith Gallery (Sept. 17- Oct. 10). “But the kids loved it. They had a blast!” Hobin’s new work leaves behind childhood fables and moves into the headlines. His topics are historic moments—mostly tragedies—immortalized and saturated by media coverage. Goodbye Mother Goose.