We’ve been long-time fans of Molly Anne Bishop and seized the opportunity to exhibit her work before she leaves Richmond for Montana next month. Her ceramics are always touching and truly inspired and she’s created a brand new series of pieces specifically for her exhibit in The Vault. To see Ms. Bishop’s new work with it’s unique characters and poignant sentiments leaves viewers wanting to know more. We asked Molly about how she decides on the images and themes that she uses, how her time in Richmond has influenced her, and about what her bright future might have in store.
Q: Tell us a bit about your background and how you developed an interest in ceramics.
MAB: I grew up with an appreciation for art, but was also very interested in biology. I spent a year in college studying bio, but I spent more time drawing than studying chemistry so I decided to take a risk and transfer to VCU with my eye on the craft/material studies program. I fell in love with clay thanks to some really great teachers.
Q: The images and text you use in your pieces are so distinctive and unique. How do you decide on their content?
MAB: I spend a lot of time drawing in my sketchbook. My drawings are mostly of animals. I love field guides and older books about biology. I also use my sketchbooks as a kind of diary; writing one-liners describing how I feel at the moment. In the studio, after I have built a piece and covered it with slip, I pull out my sketchbooks and decide what to put on them. Lately I have been really interested in sports so my work now incorporates that. For the record, I don’t really know anything about sports. I just like the uniforms and the dedication that I see in photographs of players.
Q: Is there something about your work that you hope viewers will take away from the experience of viewing your pieces?
MAB: I guess mostly I want to talk about the universality of feelings. As people, we all have the same basic desires. I think a lot of people feel confused or sad and maybe don’t talk about it. So I try to put it out in the open, on a plate holding your dinner. I want them to be funny and maybe a little uncomfortable.
Q: What’s next for you and your future work?
MAB: I am headed to a residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana. I have some ideas for developing my work, and I’ll have a whole year to focus completely on clay.
Q: Are there things about Richmond, specifically, that you find artistically inspiring?
MAB: Of course! Mostly the people. There are a ton of creative people in [this] town. Also, we are so lucky to have so many free and beautiful spaces like the VMFA, Maymont, and Hollywood Cemetery.
Q: When you aren’t working, what are your favorite things to do/places to go?
MAB: I work at a restaurant and then try to maintain something of a regular studio practice so I don’t have a ton of free time. But when I do, I love going out to eat. It’s a problem, because I need to be saving money. I don’t know when I’ll be back in Richmond so I’m trying to soak up as much of it and my friends as I can. I’m also on a quest for the perfect frozen margarita.
Molly Anne Bishop’s work will be on view in The Vault through August 31. She joins Main Gallery artist, Robey Clark and Shop Show artist, Sara Gossett as exhibitors this summer at Quirk. An artist’s reception will be held on Thursday, August 1 followed by the RVA First Fridays event on August 2.