Tim Hobson had an architectural training and this we can perceive as we move into his solid, coherent, alternative world. Most of his pictures feature figures in a landscape: chunky people sleepwalk through amiable sub-agrarian activities set in a terrain that looks mainly like the South west of England or sometimes like Tuscany or Japan, but it is essentially a country of imagination. The landscape and people are there to provide an interplay of shapes and surfaces: rolling hills, tumbling hunters, flora and fauna, horse haunches, profile of nose and chin, melons, the contours of a tatura, the parabola of backs, buttocks, bosoms all allow the artist to compose his ballet of curves and colours. And his handling of blocked colour is rich with exciting citrines, madder and velvet browns.
Sometimes it looks as if Tim Hobson has run joyous riot with a child's geometry set; but in general it is a substantial world. Some of the figures are cartoonish; others have a Moore - like solidity and an earthy Stanley Spencer feel - though with heavenly dimensions. We are not allowed to get too close - as if we are looking a carp in a pond or gawping at a jar of desirable boiled sweets in a 1940's confectioner's window. Indeed we are time-warped into some far-away but reassuring world. Part of the appeal of the pictures is that his people are passion and stress free. They have a tranquil Buddhist acceptance of their world.
Sometimes we note a quizzical or puzzled 'watcher' in the canvasses. Is it the painter himself or an outsider who is seeking to dance to the music of the time? There seems to a recurring motif of a vacant but slightly disdainful face that maybe echoes from the painter's past.
One could seek to position Hobson as a primitive abstract but he doesn't fit into any category. He has some of the quirkiness of Lowry but there is no sub-test, no myth to shape them, no feeling of the zeitgeist, no end-of-the century angst. There is no loud message. In another world Hobson was a stockbroker, Like Gauguin, he has perhaps found his version of Tahiti.
It will be interesting to see how he will develop. Some of his latest canvases are less formalised and more fluid. It might be rewarding to see him extend to more urban subject matter, more interiors. He has transferred his themes to some ravishing tapestries where wool gives a subtle intricacy that paint cannot provide and his undulant visions are delicately worked in sensual combinations of colour.