Molly Hatch, Centriole, USA, 2022
Molly Hatch’s ceramic wall installations may best represent the “grey space” between fine art, contemporary design, and craft that has become de rigueur for museum collections and modern collectors. Using ceramic surfaces as both her canvas and subject matter, she appropriates and re-contextualizes historic pattern and imagery across compositions of hand-painted earthenware plates, the glazed surfaces of the plates collectively become a fragmented canvas for her delicate, painterly re-renderings. Centriole was inspired by imagery from the 1867 book “Examples of Chinese Ornament” by architect and designer, Owen Jones.
Though the components of her works are, in effect, technically functional, they are ultimately not intended for use, but installed to be observed and studied. A set of formal and fine dinnerware is an anomaly to younger generations, having little or no importance to the relaxed and multicultural way that we now live our daily lives. What many museums hold in their archives can be hard for the public to appreciate.
Hatch has in effect “reset the table,” by breaking the patterns of tradition and skewing the dinner services of old. She transforms and deconstructs what was once everyday and craft-based, helping us look at formality, history, and class through a contemporary perspective. Her process involves enlarging familiar patterns and motifs from traditional ceramics, textiles, fine art painting, and illustration, digitally igniting them in color, scale, and composition to create a new hybrid pattern. The precise balance of old and new opens a space to acknowledge our evolution in the 21st century in relation to aesthetics and ritual.
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