Hamlett Dobbins, a small-print-run-edition artist's book.
A native of Tennessee, Hamlett Dobbins has spent most of his life in Memphis. He received his BFA from the University of Memphis in 1993 and went on to receive his MA and MFA from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. After completing his graduate studies, Dobbins moved to Memphis where he worked as a curator for Delta Axis @ Marshall Arts while teaching at University of Memphis, University of Mississippi, and at Memphis College of Art. In 2000 he received a fellowship for a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont as well as a three month residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska. He has received grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation as well as the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Individual Artists Grant. He has shown his work throughout the region as well as at Art in General in New York, NP40 in Amsterdam, The American Academy in Rome, Dogmatic in Chicago, and Lump Gallery in North Carolina. His work has appeared in New Art Examiner, Art Papers and Number. For the last fifteen years Dobbins has been active in the art community in Memphis working as a curator, a writer, and a teacher. From 2001 to 2013 he was the director of the Clough-Hanson Gallery at Rhodes College where he also taught. From 2004 to 2013 he ran a non-commercial alternative space called Material where he provided exhibition opportunities for nearly a hundred artists from Memphis, Tokyo, and places in between. In 2013 he was awarded the Rome Prize and spent eleven months as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. He now lives in Memphis with his two children, Milla and Ives.
2014 ArtsAccelerator Grant
I spent last year as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome and while I was there I began going to Francesco Borromini’s church, Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza. Every Sunday morning I would go there to meditate and to see the space. While there, I would make little, simple drawings that are Sharpie marker on unlined index cards. At the end of my time there I had hundreds of these line drawings divided in to individual Sundays.
The ArtsMemphis ArtsAccelerator grant will fund a small-print-run-edition of a book that will gather the drawings from a single Sunday (June 22, 2014) and present the drawings chronologically as an artist’s book. I have always been drawn to books and the intimate format they provide for myself as well as the viewer. Since graduate school, books have been a cornerstone of my artistic practice. While the Sant’Ivo drawings have certainly informed my current paintings I do not see them as preparatory sketches. I see them as a series of finished drawings that are best when viewed as a whole. Funding from ArtsMemphis will also allow me to expand my studio practice to work in a new field in the already fruitful territory of the artist’s book. Additionally, the small print run (of one hundred copies) will allow me to share the intimate experience of viewing these small drawings with people at exhibitions and through venues that specialize in artist’s books.
All images by Hamlett Dobbins courtesy of David Lusk Gallery. Click here to view more work by Hamlett Dobbins.