Ted Pietrzak Remembers His Friend Duayne Hatchett

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Duayne Hatchet was a remarkable person and a nationally recognized artists. He was a professor in the department of fine art at the University at Buffalo, and a friend to those that visited his Essex Street home or saw him at an art opening. I was privileged to have had curated the 60 year retrospective of his work in 2009 and became a friend through the course of the process.

When I first visited his studio/home in 1998, I saw a man committed to the ideas of abstraction, devoted to exploring a world of patterns, colors, and form in many media, and a man deeply in love with his wife Mary, a serious man and a joyful man. A man who appreciated good art in its many manifestations, but also a man who loved a good guacamole dip (made by Mary) and a light beer.

He was happily driven, working every day on his art. Like a Christmas elf in his workshop, Duayne was happiest creating new objects and images, building on years of his disciplined art practice. He invented new machines to create new effects. He experimented with various materials and techniques. He worked in sculpture, painting, printmaking, and drawing. He worked into the last day of his life; no question, a life well spent. He leaves me and many others with memories of his smile, strong hand-shake, and welcoming greeting with his Oklahoma/southwestern accent.

He will be missed and remembered if not for the memories some of us have of him, but for all of us, for art he left behind.


Ted Pietrzak was executive director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center from 1998-2010 and curated the exhibition Duayne Hatchett: Form, Pattern and Invention at The Center.