Nearly 500 Hand-Painted Plates by Ceramicist Molly Hatch to be Installed in High Lobby
Two-story tall installation commissioned by the High and inspired by works in the Museum’s Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English Ceramics
ATLANTA, Feb. 5, 2014 – The High Museum of Art has commissioned contemporary ceramicist Molly Hatch to present “Physic Garden,” a two-story tall, hand-painted “plate painting,” which reinterprets works from its renowned decorative arts and design collection.
On view starting March 15, the “plate painting” will be installed in the High’s Margaretta Taylor Lobby and will be comprised of 475 plates featuring an original design inspired by two ca. 1755 Chelsea Factory plates from the Museum’s Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English Ceramics, which totals more than 300 works.
The historic source plates depict realistic flora and fauna in the Chelsea “Hans Sloane” style of the early 1750s. The influential Chelsea Physic Garden, a botanical garden founded by the Society of Apothecaries in London in 1673, was leased by collector Hans Sloane and likely inspired neighboring factory porcelain decorators.
The High’s installation will be the largest ever produced by Hatch, who has worked on previous projects with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Hatch also designs her own line for national clothing, accessories and home décor retailer Anthropologie.
“I am thrilled to work with such a talented contemporary artist as Molly and to have the outcome be such a dynamic and monumental acquisition for the High. One of the most exciting aspects of ‘Physic Garden’ is seeing the historic decorative arts and design collection through the lens of a creative young artist. We can’t wait for our visitors to experience this new work as well as revisit our important and beloved collection of English ceramics,” says Sarah Schleuning, curator of decorative arts and design at the High.
Hatch often sources historic works to make a contemporary counterpart, however this project marks the first time she is sourcing historic decorative arts to create a site-specific “plate painting.” To create the “plate painting,” Hatch digitally altered high-resolution images of the surface decoration of the source material to draft a new composition. She altered the original color, scale and composition of the Chelsea designs and then projected the new images onto 475 dinner plates (each 9.5 inches in diameter). She then hand-painted each plate using the projected image as a guide.
The complete installation will measure approximately 22 feet high by 17 feet wide. The Chelsea source plates are also on view in the High’s permanent collection Gallery 200, which patrons may visit to view the historic material. The High is acquiring the piece, which can re-installed by the Museum at future dates in smaller incarnations or in other locations.
“I encourage the viewer to see ceramics as a part of the fine art continuum – viewing plates as one would view a painting,” said Hatch. “For this installation, I’ve re-worked the surface imagery to create a new composition that reflects the historic. The artwork becomes an exploration of the relationship between the historic and the contemporary – crossing over categories of decorative art, design and fine art.”
About Molly Hatch
Born in 1978, the daughter of a painter and a dairy farmer, Molly Hatch divided her childhood between physical labor, play and creating art. She studied drawing, painting, printmaking and ceramics and receiving her bachelor’s degree of fine arts from the Museum School in Boston in 2000. After several ceramic residencies and apprenticeships in the U.S. and abroad, she received her master’s degree of fine arts degree in ceramics at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2008. In 2009, she was awarded the Arts/Industry Residency in Pottery at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin, which laid the foundation for her career as an artist designer. Hatch works from her home studio in Northampton, Mass., on everything from designing and illustration to one-of-a-kind pieces. Her work has been widely collected and commissioned and is exhibited nationally and internationally at art fairs and museums. Hatch’s work has also been widely licensed in partnership with Anthropologie, Galison, Chronicle and other companies for homeware and stationery products. Her work has been featured in numerous publications from House Beautiful magazine to online publications such as Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. For the last two years, Hatch has been teaching a Tableware course at Rhode Island School of Design. She also teaches ceramic and illustration workshops across the country as well as online courses through Creativebug. Her first book will be released in 2015.
High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the Southeastern U.S. With more than 14,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk art and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information about the High, visit high.org.
The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more about the Woodruff Arts Center, visit www.woodruffcenter.org.
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High Museum of Art
Public Relations Specialist