Worth & Weight | Morgan Hobbs

Presented by VSOP

In Worth & Weight, Morgan Hobbs creates a sculptural installation that depicts a site of ruins made almost entirely from recycled materials. Amazon boxes, trash bags filled with packing peanuts, toilet paper rolls, milk jugs, and plastic sheets are assembled together and coated in pulverized newspaper creating a rough, gray surface. The fossil-like forms take the shape of blocks with decorative details, fragments of statuesque figures, tools, weapons, personal items, and some of the historical signifiers and symbols that can be found around Hobbs’ home in Philadelphia, a city that is rife with history, myth, and symbolic meaning.

In the field of archaeology, trash pits are gold mines. They’re a major source of information and discovery - a way to learn about the everyday lives of the people in a past time and place. Perhaps near an old stone foundation, a pit of pottery shards, beads, and broken mirrors suggests that the ruined structure is the remnants of a house, restaurant, or hotel. Archaeologists have the exciting task of reanimating these discarded objects to interpret their significance and their connection to written documentation and oral histories. The discarded items in Worth & Weight have been reanimated into a collection of forms that wait to be interpreted by their viewers. The arrangement of these crafted objects creates a scene that may appear to be the ruins of a post-apocalyptic cityscape or the result of the total societal collapse of western civilization. Yet from within the ashes, objects begin to speak for themselves, new stories emerge, and fresh life is given to what was left behind. 

Morgan Hobbs is an artist from Kansas City, Missouri. Hobbs studied historical and prehistoric archaeology in conjunction with her fine arts training. Now living in Philadelphia, these investigations take on new meaning and urgency, and through her art practice, Hobbs seeks a deeper understanding of the visions and symbols depicted around her. 

Morgan Hobbs is a graduate of the Masters of Fine Arts program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the University of Central Missouri, where she studied painting and anthropology. In 2015, Hobbs co-founded AUTOMAT Gallery, an artist-run collective and gallery space based in Philadelphia. Hobbs has since curated and juried exhibitions at Moore College of Art & Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, AUTOMAT and beyond. Hobbs is currently the Assistant Director at Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia.

Hobbs has shown her paintings and sculptures both regionally and nationally, including at Satellite Projects in Miami, 33 Orchard in New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, and Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia. She has presented her work and writing at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in Ogden, Utah; the University of Central Missouri; Pennsylvania College of Art and Design; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and more. In 2012 and 2020, she attended Vermont Studio Center as an Artist in Residence, and in 2020, she was awarded a Hemera Contemplative Fellowship. In July 2022, she will be a Visiting Artist at Mount Gretna School of Art. Hobbs is represented by VSOP Projects in New York.