MOLLY CLIFF HILTS is an artist whose work is part of an emerging form that fuses painting, photography, and printing using wax, lithographic ink, oil, and graphite.
Over the years, Molly has spent countless hours immersed in the landscape of the West Coast, and her experience is embodied in her fleeting views of both nature and humanity. Along with her solitary and expressive landscape paintings, Molly studies images of everyday life, and the play between nature and humankind. These contemplations are revealed through the lens of an ethereal and often mercurial light.
Molly’s landscape paintings are the basis for the visual presentation that debuted in the U.S. at the Getty Center for Paradoxical Undressing, a live spoken word, music, and visual installation by singer songwriter and author Kristin Hersh.
In 2010, Molly began a series of life-size portraits of authors she calls friends and/or friends of friends. Titled “2 Degrees of Separation,” the intention of these portraits of writers who express their experience through written word is to visually communicate a simple truth about each. In 2014, her portraiture series expanded and she embarked on a reminiscent series called “Postcards from the Past.” Derived from family photographs from the 1950s and 1960s, these paintings are in mostly sepia tones and recall scenes from her mother’s family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Dubbed a social alchemist, Molly, along with her husband, Dave, is known for her salons, a practice that began in the year 2000. A gathering with food, libation, and art, the salons have evolved over the past 15 years to include artists from other disciplines: musicians, poets, writers―often those who have directly influenced Molly’s work. This also turned out to be a continuing of, as Molly learned later, a family tradition that dated back to 1911, when her great-grandmother, Mary Porter Sesnon, and her husband, William T. Sesnon, first hosted similar salons―gatherings that melded music, theatre, art, and the spoken word―at their summer home, “Pino Alto,” in Monterey Bay, California.
Molly’s paintings have been exhibited in solo shows in NYC, and she is represented by Allen Sheppard Gallery, NYC and Philadelphia; Eno Gallery in Hillsborough, NC; and the Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery. Her work can be found in notable collections worldwide, including the private collection of Bill and Melinda Gates. She is a member of the Portland Art Museum Education Committee, the Resource Council for LiveWire! radio theater, and is co-founder of the Portland Brooklyn Project, along with writer and Brooklynite Kurt Andersen.
Molly lives with her husband and two sons at Double Nickel Studios in Portland, Oregon.