Molly Hatch: REVERIE / Philadelphia Art Alliance, United States
February 7 - April 28, 2013
“In a continued effort to claim the functional surface of the dinner plate as a painting surface, REVERIE includes a new collection of historically sourced plate paintings. In response to the domestic nature of the galleries at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, I have designed “Tea for Two” a historic teacup inspired fabric wallpaper installation.
For REVERIE I worked closely with curators at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA to source their largely unviewed collection of historic teacups for “Tea for Two”, a fabric wallpaper installation. The story of Francine and Sterling Clark personally collecting hundreds of teacups over a lifetime now housed in the Clark Art Institute archives resonated with my own personal Metcalf family history of collecting and coveting decorative arts.
Rather than seeking source material from an additional museum collection for my new plate paintings in REVERIE, I chose to mine my own family’s collection of ceramic objects. My own family history of collecting resonated with the Francine and Sterling Clark cup collection. Thanks to the generosity of my family, my new plate paintings will be exhibited alongside the originals on loan for the duration of the exhibition.
REVERIE is a personal exploration of the relationship between the historic and the contemporary with artworks crossing over categories of decorative art, design and fine art. Fascinated by how we live with objects, how and why we acquire objects and what happens to them throughout history, I see this exhibition as a reflection of the life of surface pattern through the decorative art continuum.” Molly Hatch
“No art is simply, blithely contemporary. That would be like saying our parents had no influence on us. Today’s art responds to and reacts against yesterday’s art. Hatch serves up the magisterial landscape on a grid of 30 hand-painted ceramic dinner plates. The grid of circles cleverly breaks up and abstracts the scene, but doesn’t abandon its coherence. Indeed, it spotlights the mark-making.” Boston Globe Review of COVET: Modern Riffs on Old Ideas by Cate McQuaid, May 30, 2012
Artist and designer Molly Hatch grew up on an organic dairy farm in Vermont surrounded by a startlingly diverse set of visual influences: the earthy reality of rural life, and the mysterious, disembodied luxury of antique decorative objects from her mother’s family, prosperous Boston merchants who used Chinese export porcelain as ballast in their ships. Inspired by these two seemingly disparate family narratives, Hatch became an artist with a life-long passion for the decorative arts and the dialog between old and new. She has developed a robust studio practice that encompasses both works of art and design for industry, keenly aware of the different concerns and goals of each, while engaging with the ambiguity of objects that seem to exist in both the decorative and fine art realms.
“Reverie,” her first exhibition at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, is inspired by what Hatch describes as her “continued effort to claim the functional surface of the dinner plate as a painting surface.” Drawing from 18th and 19th century plates from her family’s own collection, Hatch has created a series of “plate paintings” in which design elements from “source” plates are drastically scaled up and applied in a matrix on a grid of new plates, forming an image all its own. In response to the domestic history of the Philadelphia Art Alliance—once a private home—Hatch has also created wallpaper called “Tea For Two.” Working closely with curators at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, Hatch studied the teacup collection of Francine and Sterling Clark, and began painting teacups and designing a pattern that employed both their intricate surface designs and their silhouettes. The resulting wallpaper invites the viewer to contemplate this complex identity—is it a work of art, or is it decoration, and can it be both?—and provides no definitive answers, only provocative questions.
In addition to her exhibition at the PAA, Hatch’s work is featured in “New Blue and White” exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and her exuberant designs for Anthropologie in ceramics, textiles, and glass may be seen in shops across the United States and Canada, Europe, and the UK. Hatch studied drawing and ceramics at the Museum School in Boston, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2000. After several ceramic residencies and apprenticeships in the United States and abroad, she received her Masters of Fine Arts degree in ceramics at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2008. In 2009, Hatch was awarded the prestigious Arts/Industry Residency in Pottery at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin. She is represented by Ferrin Gallery in Pittsfield, MA.
Philadelphia Art Alliance
251 South 18th Street
Molly Hatch, Reverie, 2013, 28 hand-painted plates with glaze, underglaze and 11 carat gold luster, 70” W x 40” H x 1.5” D. Photo by John Polak.