The artist Molly Cliff Hilts, whose paintings I use as backdrops, paints to my music. It all intertwines nicely, and none of it is as hard to understand as an evening of fairly complex music might be if you don’t speak the language ‘music.’
– Kristin Hersh, 2008
In 2001, Molly was introduced to the music of Kristin Hersh, a singer-song writer and front woman for the band, Throwing Muses, as she was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered. This was the beginning of what turned into years of collaboration between Kristin, Molly and their art-forms.
In 2005, Molly joined the board of Live Wire! a radio theatre show that airs on Public Radio International, and suggested to the producers Kristin Hersh as a potential guest. Kristin came on as a guest the following year, where Molly had the opportunity to meet Kristin, as her back stage “wrangler”. Kristin’s music helped Molly through some hard times, and it was a wonderful thing to acknowledge and thank Kristin for her inspiration. The two kept in touch and Molly started sending Kristin imagery of paintings that had been inspired by her music.
In 2008, Molly and Dave hosted a house concert for Kristin and later that year, Kristin approached Molly about incorporating her paintings into her life story, projected as the visual basis for her memoir/performance “Paradoxical Undressing,” (released in the US with the alternate title, “Rat Girl”) which debuted in 2009 at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London; its US debut at The Getty Center as well as the Boston Museum in 2011.
For the 2008 house concert, Kristin focused on Appalachian songs from her childhood. In 2011, she returned for a literary salon, along with Larry Rohter, arts writer for the New York Times and former NY Times Bureau Chief for Rio de Janeiro, who read from his book, “Brazil on the Rise: The Story of a Country Transformed”. Kristin was interviewed about her memoir, “Paradoxical Undressing” and performed. Here is an excerpt from the interview and she sings the song, "Flooding" about the death of her friend Vic Chesnutt. This song also was an inspiration for the portrait Molly did of Kristin, who, at the time, was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. She and Molly both share the love of swimming, and Molly placed her, as a mermaid, deep below the water, where it is peaceful; the faint glimpse of a swimmer above, on the surface.
Molly continues to be inspired by Kristin’s music and life story.
Kristin Hersh, interviewed by Dave Weich, of Sheepscot Creative, Double Nickel Studios, 2011