Award: Research & Development Grant

Discipline: Visual Arts

Project Collaborator(s):  

City/Town: Tucson

Year: 2019

Artist Website:

It was when I became a parent that I understood the power of objects. I quickly realized the way they mediate intimacy and tell us about proximity. Child rearing and development is populated with things and many theories about them. The home becomes a sieve through which items pass according to value systems, expectations and larger cultural and socioeconomic norms and forces.

Excerpt from Sara Hubbs’ R&D Grant application

Sara Hubbs received funding in support of her work on a series of three sculptures called “The Gift,” a continuation of previous works called “The Guardians.” Constructed out of plastic toy packaging, the original pieces were translucent, playing with the duality of presence and absence, but were also fragile. The artist will recreate the existing sculptures, casting them in a durable material that will allow her to explore different aspects of our relationships to objects.

Hubbs is interested in exploring our perceptions of the temporality of objecthood, our ability to see our relationships with objects, and their effects on our expressions of intimacy and proximity.

After the sculptures are created, Hubbs will place them in the homes of members of her community of parents and will rotate them periodically. She will ask the parents and children in each home to document the sculptures in their intimate spaces through simple smartphone photography.

With “The Gift,” Hubbs, trained a painter, will learn about complex sculpture casting methods, what is possible and what material best expresses concepts in her work. The project will also allow her to explore new methods of viewer engagement, one that favors intimacy and depth.

“Guardians: Gem”

“Guardians: Gem” was created using discarded plastic toy packaging gathered from moments of gift giving by friends who are parents. It is a translucent body made of objects. Ghost-like, it hovers between presence and absence. “Guardians: Gem” is one of the sculptures I will recreate in a new material as part of my grant proposal.

“Green Mary”

“Green Mary” is comprised of discarded food and product containers and the arms from old patio furniture. The plastic is layered and transformed, and together moves in and out of recognition. These shapes occupy a space both visible and invisible and questions what these bodies contain.

Sara Hubbs is a visual artist whose work looks to the discarded shapes of material culture as sites of meaning. She uses abstraction to see intimacy, absence, and relationships between objects and the body within the context of the everyday. Sara makes both two and three-dimensional work, utilizing plaster, glass, paper and product packaging. She has shown locally, nationally and internationally. Her work has been included in group shows at the Ex-Teresa Arte Cultural in Mexico City, The Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, The Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle, NY, Yun Gee Park Gallery in Tucson, Spattered Columns in NYC, and Modified Arts in Phoenix among others. She attended residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and at The Cooper Union and is a founding member of the Stew-dio Visit Artist Collective, recipient of a stART Mini Grant from the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona. Sara completed a BFA in Painting at Arizona State University and an MFA in Visual Art at The George Washington University where she received the Morris Louis Fellowship. Originally from Phoenix, she is now based in Tucson, where she maintains a studio practice and lives with her husband and daughter.