Mary Daniel Hobson, "Empire", part of the series "Mapping the Body", 2001, Kodalith and mixed media collage,  5-1/8 x 6-1/4"

Mary Daniel Hobson, “Empire”, part of the series “Mapping the Body”, 2001, Kodalith and mixed media collage, 5-1/8 x 6-1/4″

Mary Daniel Hobson

I am interested in what lies beneath the surface of the skin. It is not the physical structures that concern me – ligaments, organs, bones – rather it is the emotions and experiences that are imprinted on our bodies – the places we travel, the music we listen to, the letters we read and write. Our past informs our cells.

As early mapmakers used pen and ink to chart the surface of the world, I use collage to navigate the inner world. I print images of the body on Kodalith, because black and white transparencies render the surface invisible. I collage in layers using real objects. I delight in insect wings, needles, fishhooks, matches, traintracks, and door hinges because they are so very tactile and convey multiple meanings.

Many of the pieces in this series were inspired by personal history. However, my hope has always been that the work transcends its origins and speaks to something larger than myself, to something universal. For this reason, I encourage viewers to discover their own unique reading of each piece.

“At the age of 14, my camera taught me to pay attention… I began to see the world in all its fine detail, and a life-long passion in photography claimed me.” A native of San Francisco, Mary Daniel Hobson studied Art History at Vassar College. She found a role model in Lee Miller, apprentice and lover of Man Ray, which inspired her to enroll in the Masters program in the History of Photography at the University of New Mexico, where her fascination with Surrealism was confirmed and she focused on the work of Dora Maar. Upon completing her MA in 1996, Hobson returned to the San Francisco Bay Area where she continues to make and study photographs. She teaches at the California College of Arts and Crafts, and manages the on-line resource of the Arts and Healing Network at She has had solo shows in San Francisco at the Robert Koch Gallery and the Institute for Health and Healing; group shows include those at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, SF Camerawork, and the Bolinas Museum. Her work resides in collections at the Albuquerque Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She has received individual artists grants from Marin County Arts Council and been reviewed in publications including Artweek and Foto Forum.