Artist Sarah Hobbs often employs photography to document her installations and arrangements of objects. Recently, she deviated from this practice by staging an installation that was viewed on-site. “Flight in Place” was on view March 16-21 in the Carson McCullers Center in Columbus, Georgia [open this week by appointment]. The center is in McCullers’s former childhood home, which is next door to Hobbs’s childhood home. Though they experienced childhood in different eras, the biographical fact of their proximity provides an interesting connection between them.
“Flight in Place” occupied a single bedroom. The furnishings were what one might expect: a bed, vanity, shelves, and bedside tables. Other items in the room, however, described an abnormal urgency. The walls are lined with maps that have been heavily marked up with notes describing destinations all over the world. Travel guides fill the shelves, sprouting bookmarks and Post-it notes. A row of small clocks tracks time zones around the globe. Above them a wall is filled with travel postcards.
The bed in the center of this arrangement suggests dreams, and the impossible number of destinations portrays obsession. The desire to leave home is a universal part of adolescence, but is also a part of the American mythology of the artist. Themes of escape are common in Carson’s work as well. “Flight in Place” connects to a living and a historic artist but also leaves room for us to examine our own unfulfilled desires.
Orion Wertz is a painter and graphic novelist living in Columbus, Georgia. He is a professor at Columbus State University, where he teaches drawing and painting. He is a finalist for the 2015 Hudgens Prize.