Adrian Hatfield2 TSV

Adrian Hatfield

Detroit, MI | by August 2, 2013

I recently vis­ited the stu­dio of Adrian Hat­field. Adrian’s stu­dio is an adja­cent struc­ture he designed and built in his back­yard in Detroit, MI. I have known Adrian for sev­eral years. We showed together at The Butcher’s Daugh­ter Gallery in Fer­n­dale, MI. We reg­u­larly run into each other at open­ings and have grilled and shared wine together in the very back­yard I vis­ited to see his studio.

Adrian is orig­i­nally from Ohio where he received his BFA from The Ohio State Uni­ver­sity in Colum­bus, OH and his MFA from Ohio Uni­ver­sity in Athens, OH. Adrian moved to Detroit for a teach­ing posi­tion at Wayne State University.

I met Adrian around the back of his beau­ti­ful Fer­n­dale home. Fer­n­dale is a sub­urb of the city of Detroit that sits just north of the city, begin­ning at the famed 8-​​mile road on Wood­ward Avenue. It is a tall struc­ture giv­ing him high ceil­ings and great light to work with. The floors are poured con­crete and the walls are nice, clean, newer dry­wall. I was first greeted by Adrian hunched over a large 4 foot square can­vas he was prepar­ing (with red oil as a ground) laid flat on a low table.

Adrian offered me some deli­ciously strong cof­fee and we started talk­ing. Around his stu­dio are the usual items you would expect to find in an artists work­space, a desk, book­cases filled with books on paint­ing (I assume Adrian’s favorite artists) but the odd­ity that caught my atten­tion was the stuffed rooster atop one of the book­cases. How­ever, it’s not so much an odd­ity when you know what Adrian’s work is about. Sit­u­at­ing itself in the space between art and sci­ence, nat­u­ral­ism and fan­tasy mixed with sci­ence fic­tion is where Adrian’s lex­i­con finds a home. Godzilla, taxi­dermy birds, pre­his­toric scenes of dinosaurs, pop cul­ture ref­er­ences and so on. Dio­ra­mas that seem as though they would not be out of place in a museum of nat­ural his­tory, that is until you real­ize the sub­ver­sion at work.

Adrian states as quoted from his statement:

My art takes its cues from visual lan­guages devel­oped in var­i­ous sci­en­tific are­nas and which are used, in part, to make huge amounts of infor­ma­tion digestible. These include sci­en­tific illus­tra­tion, museum pre­sen­ta­tion and dio­rama. I am inter­ested in explor­ing how the reduc­tive nature of these lan­guages cre­ates the com­fort­ing illu­sion of a more com­plete under­stand­ing of their sub­jects. Simul­ta­ne­ously, I bor­row from the lan­guage of nineteenth-​​century Roman­tic land­scape paint­ings and reli­gious iconog­ra­phy, which also attempt to dis­till vast and mys­te­ri­ous sub­ject mat­ter into com­pre­hen­si­ble portrayals.

Adrian told me that he is inter­ested in the sub­lime and the roman­tic. I asked him about the absur­dity and humor in his work. The fic­tions he cre­ates in both two and three-​​dimensions, are so painstak­ingly con­structed as to almost be believed. His mimetic hand is try­ing des­per­ately to bring the fic­tion to life. I am con­vinced. We moved on to career talk. Adrian told me about his recent solo show at the South Bend Museum of Art and we dis­cussed teach­ing. All the while I was pon­der­ing the strange worlds Adrian cre­ates and their rela­tion to the one we find our­selves in. I was also think­ing about time, both the geo­log­i­cal time his work seems to span as well as the time he invests in craft­ing his pieces. This is what always draws me in to his work.

In addi­tion to exhibit­ing through­out the Detroit area, Adrian has shown his work at ARC Gallery in Chicago, and Jack the Pel­i­can Presents in New York. He was a res­i­dent artist at both, NES Artist Res­i­dency, Ska­gas­trond, and SIM Artist Res­i­dency, Reyk­javik, Ice­land. To learn more, visit his web­site,



Categorised in:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *