Molly Hatch: Reverie

Philadelphia Art Alliance

February 7, 2013 to April 27, 2013


For “Reverie,” her first exhibition at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Molly Hatch has created new works inspired by her “continued effort to claim the functional surface of the dinner plate as a painting surface.”

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 will be featured in the upcoming exhibition “New Blue and White” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opening February 20, 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.