Looking at the Harris Hobbs collection for the first time in its "natural home environment", one is overwhelmed by a sense of obsession and excess. To say that every square inch of space in their home is dominated by art is a modest exaggeration and works of every shape, size, colour and medium occupy bedrooms, bathrooms, lounge, dining room and kitchen. Unlike many collectors, investment and décor are not the primary concerns for Harris and Hobbs. Although there are many works with ample potential for fine interior decoration and would cause the average investor to salivate, Harris and Hobbs use their collection differently. They collect because they love art and, having visited their home, it becomes clear that art enhances their lifestyle by providing a harmonious blend of comfort, beauty and stimulation. As we look at elements of their collection in the gallery, it is important to remember that the atmosphere of the home cannot be reproduced. Toni Bailey and David Broker have selected a number of works that represent some of the more adventurous moments in the collection. These are the works that artists sell to private collectors and as a result tend to disappear into the ether. In the original context of the collection however, each piece is part of an architectural environment that Harris and Hobbs have created with a highly refined sense of design, space and light that might serve as a metaphor for the role that art and culture play in society at large. That is, when it is appreciated and supported.
Image: installation detail.