Molly Hatch to plate up installation for High Museum lobby

The expansive lobby of the High Museum of Art's Wieland Pavilion has been more a place of ticket-buying, way-finding and coffee-sipping than art-viewing since it opened in 2005.

But the museum plans to add another large-scale contemporary artwork to catch the eye amid architect Renzo Piano’s flourishes — the football field of gleaming hardwood, the window walls and towering, coffered ceilings.

The High has announced that the space officially known as the Margaretta Taylor Lobby will be enhanced by the installation of a two-story-tall "plate painting" by artist-designer Molly Hatch.

Comprised of 475 hand-painted dinner plates, “Physic Garden” reinterprets two circa 1755 Chelsea Factory plates from the museum’s Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English Ceramics. It is expected to go on long-term view March 15.

At 22 feet high by 17 feet wide, “Physic Garden” is the largest installation produced by Hatch, who has created ones for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This is the first project in which the Massachusetts ceramicist, also known for her line for the retail chain Anthropologie, has created a site-specific “plate painting” based on historic decorative arts.

The source plates, on view in the High's permanent collection Gallery 200, depict realistic flora and fauna in the Chelsea "Hans Sloane" style of the early 1750s. The Chelsea Physic Garden, a botanical garden founded by the Society of Apothecaries in London in 1673, is believed to have inspired porcelain decorators at neighboring factories.