LaToya M. Hobbs

Marci by LaToya Hobbs.jpg

Marci (96″ x 48″), hand embellished woodcut on muslin, $6800

Visual images influence the psychological framework upon which identity is established; particularly the images that one sees of him or herself or those that are representative of their community. With this sensitivity to the importance of visual images in mind, I use the female figure to challenge past notions of identity concerning the black female body, deconstruct them, and resurrect an ideology grounded in positivity. My work is an investigation of the point where the notions of race, identity, and beauty intersect concerning women of African descent. In this exploration, women, those with whom I have personal and virtual interactions, play a role that is paramount, making them the source of my inspiration and an integral part of my creative process.

Consequently, my work, serves as a platform that enables its subject to engage in a visual dialogue with the viewer. The objective of this dialogue is to redefine and sometimes inform others of their identity. In this creative process I have reexamined the triadic artist/model/ viewer relationship by interacting with my models not as objects but as subjects with a voice.

My primary medium of choice is relief printmaking. 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 women of African descent have had to cut away the negative stereotypes imposed on them by external forces to express their true identity. I seek to dismantle negative stereotypes based on Euro-centric standards of beauty and communicate how past influences, expectations, and personal preferences resonate with women of color in the 21st century and are expressed through the canvas of their bodies.