Small Inventions: The Artist’s Books of Charles Hobson 2019

This book is the catalog for an exhibit of 13 artist’s books by Charles Hobson that I visited in early March at the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco.  Hobson is a resident of the Bay Area and a brilliant artist who has been creating these fine books since 1984, combining poetry and prose, monotype prints, and creative construction in what he describes as an art form in which “the subject presents a challenge that requires an invention in order to give life to the subject.”  The 13 artist’s books presented in this lovely, spare volume range from poetry (Richard Wilbur, Billy Collins, Eavan Boland, W. S. Merwin) to prose (Barry Lopez, Mark Twain, Roger Angell) to Hobson’s own writing about Amelia Earhart, Matisse, and Fresnel (the inventor of an improved lighthouse lens in the 19th C).  Each volume is beautifully created and inventive, and as the reader or the viewer of the actual objects at the Museum, I longed to hold each book, explore its intricacies, and study its language and images.  The Legion of Honor Museum is the fortunate recipient of a gift from a collector of Hobson’s work and now owns 36 of his works.  I would urge you to browse the book and then do your very best to visit the Museum when some of these works are on display.  This book is not currently available except through the Shop at the Legion.