April 16, 2014

I had a birthday. The turtle survived another winter. Some paintings are going to NYC.

Theoretically it's spring. I've been in the studio all winter and am working on a show for the fall. My web presence is down, but you can find me in my studio or here—  at David Lusk Gallery, figuratively speaking, pun intended. Though actually this weekend I plan on being there (at the gallery) in the paint flesh with my easel, working on-site, painting inside the shed in the gallery parking lot. I will be working alongside the fine company of Greely Myatt's, site-specific sculpture as it filters in through the ceiling of the tin roof. Terribly excited. A day of oil paint, dirt, and broken glass. What more could a girl ask for?

I'm also happy to be included at the inaugural Downtown Fair to be held during Frieze week May 8-11, 2014.

David Lusk Gallery
Booth DT35
Huger Foote
Mary Addison Hackett
Tyler Hildebrand
Greely Myatt
And last, but not least, several of the Kitchen Paintings are being collared for their formal debut at the gallery this summer. Lest, I don't check in for awhile, you have the scoop.

March 11, 2014

Breaking News from the Back Forty.

Almost the most exciting thing I've yet to report: In a test run, I was able to set-up my canopy in under 5 minutes. Totally. I'm not lying. This bodes very well for the new work and the spring and summer painting season. I tried this last year, but for some reason I could not get the top to click in place and on that particular day, I temporarily abandoned hope, thinking it was indeed, a two-person set-up. The last time I successfully set up the canopy by myself was in 2009 or 2010 outside the Culver City studio. I recall it being a 2-day operation.

Five Minutes, really. Seven, tops.

After which, I went back inside to finish up the indoor paintings. Two down, and two to go. I've made a pact with myself that I will finish paintings before starting new ones. It was getting to the point that I was getting a bit nervous about having the momentum to finish all of them. In a way it was a good MO to play with, but I'm into simplicity now and the multiple palettes was like a juggling act. On the other hand, I've been known to contradict myself. Over and over.

March 09, 2014

Time to Make the Biscuits or How to Turn an Idiom into a Habit.

I'm in the South now so I'm riffing on the phrase, "Time to Make the Donuts." Donuts are fine of course, but in the early morning hours, I've been perfecting a biscuit recipe before heading to the studio. And becuase I am loathe to adjust to the "new" Daylight Savings Time, early morning is subjective. My biscuit to paint/work analogy doesn't stop there. Allow me:
  • Painting: My goal lately in the studio has been to work intensely and quickly as possible in order to capture that thing in front of me in a single day-long painting session. A lofty goal. I'm not anywhere close.
  • Biscuit-making: Sure, it borders on an act of treason, but I fired up the Cuisinart today.
  • Painting: I altered my medium.
  • Biscuit-making: Sure, it borders on an act of treason, but I'm working toward vegan biscuits.
That's it. I'm out of analogies for now and I have four paintings that have been lingering in various stages of almost doneness. Time to make the brushstrokes.

March 03, 2014


Iced in this morning- a bonus day of no school. Cowboy coffee in a Pyrex measuring cup over the gas logs. Ground the beans with my Molcajete.  Suddenly realized that the firewood that's been on the front porch for 4 decades was for an emergency. Grateful for a fireplace in the kitchen and a stack of hand-knitted wool clothing from the 70's. I am a survivalist.

Mastered enough social skills to complete two openings in a row at David Lusk Gallery in Nashville. In the words of the late great Huell Howser, "It's ahmaazing." Really, both event were swellegant. It's a large group show giving a preview of the works to come and the artists represented. The show is up through March 29, or, the day after my birthday, if that's easier to remember. Another reason I am happy to be with David and crew… 40% of his artists are women.

I met the lovely Megan Kelley who interviewed me for a piece she wrote in Nashville Arts Magazine and Tamara Reynolds captured my Andy Griffith pants leg in her portrait of me in my studio. And speaking of my studio which is where I am right now, I'm gearing up for a solo of new work in October. Updates coming soon. 

Reconsiderations: Through Painting, Mary Addison Hackett Rediscovers the True Language of Things

Turpentine, 2012, Oil on canvas, 20” x 16”
Turpentine, 2012, Oil on canvas, 20” x 16”

Reconsiderations: Through Painting, Mary Addison Hackett Rediscovers the True Language of Things

by Megan Kelley
Mary Addison Hackett’s studio threshold is more than just a doorway: I find myself entering into the mind and work of a treasured collection of items, perspectives, and moments, all reimagined in new ways and captured in the act of letting go.
Blind Man's Bluff, 2014, Oil on canvas, 80” x 56”
Blind Man’s Bluff, 2014, Oil on canvas, 80” x 56”
Though the brushstrokes I meet are dynamic, gestural, and fast, it is an intentional experience for both audience and artist. “I spend a lot of time digesting the idea of something before approaching the canvas,” Mary Addison says. Working quickly after being so thoroughly engaged gives her a way to impart the idea of an object without overloading it with the emotional weight of sentiment or the representational burden of overworked paint. “I set rules for myself in painting,” Mary Addison explains. Though her recent series of work draws from familial objects and personal moments, it’s important to Hackett that she shed her own sentiment from the memory, preferring to return the object into something that belonged to itself.
“It’s not the substantiality of an object,” she explains, describing unpacking her family’s estate and being drawn to using the studio as a way of processing these items and histories, “but just what’s there. I wanted openness. I knew too much and I wanted discovery. There’s art inside of that object that takes up space in our lives.”
Palette With Blue Linoleum, 2011, Oil on linen, 7” x 5”
Palette With Blue Linoleum, 2011, Oil on linen, 7” x 5”
It’s a perspective that lends her canvases an appreciation for the vignette: the concept of things or moments treasured in everyday ways but often overlooked in the landscape of the home: the fold of a pillow, the evidence of color left behind on a studio palette, a tangle of leaves over a woodgrain floor. In scenes such as Butterfly Chair and Birdcage and The Layperson’s Guide to Venn Diagram, their imperfect representation lends a human comfort. Furniture pieces lean against each other as if seeking support, and details surface and recede as if glanced over by the viewer’s eye. It’s a form of working from photos and still life that Mary Addison describes as “perceptual painting” rather than working from simple observation. Instead of capturing exact details and allegorical significance, she’s more interested in “wandering and finding: the place between the object and the canvas, that feeling of knowing a thing through the act of depicting it.” It’s an archaeological process of viewing objects within their found context—most commonly inside the home she grew up in—but digging past the expectations for a thing in order to find its true self.
The Layperson’s Guide to Venn Diagram, 2013, Oil on canvas, 20” x 16”
The Layperson’s Guide to Venn Diagram, 2013, Oil on canvas, 20” x 16”
These acts of rediscovery also edge into psychological territories, reconfiguring seemingly unrelated details into mental still lifes composed of these collected moments of notice. With rococo riots of color and curve, paintings such as The Meeting (Attachments) and Blind Man’s Bluff begin to evolve the simple sensation of memory into the complex desire to have events, objects, and experiences make sense within a larger context. “I choose something less due to its history and instead focus on [finding] its connection to other objects and their places and opening that to others.” Small material decisions form moments of visual excitement—letting the artist celebrate a bouquet of flowers through heavy paint or to suggest compliant blindness through a single sweep of white across the eyes—and there’s an obvious delight in the process of deconstruction and reappropriation. Ultimately, these disparate moments are remnants—the ghosts of meaning, detached from their objects and left behind during the act of being processed—whose purpose, through the act of being reconsidered, is woven into something larger and new.
Mary Addison Hackett’s work will be on display for a solo exhibition with David Lusk Gallery in October, but if you can’t wait, experience her painting Blind Man’s Bluff as part of David Lusk Gallery’s grand opening group show on March 1, between 6 and 9 p.m., at their new location in Nashville at 516 Hagan Street. For more information,
Photograph: Tamara Reynolds
Photograph: Tamara Reynolds

February 25, 2014

Felt like crap all day. New field easel arrives. I miraculously recover.

I audibly gasped with delight when I looked out the window and saw the box. Street legal at 13 pounds and yes, I already weighed a canvas so I know what my limit is.

In other news, I took a painting off life support, made two small drawings for the SMMoA shindig and stretched and primed some more supports. 

A relatively boring day at the office. 

February 23, 2014

Dear Amtrak, If there is a Train God, I should have a really good shot at the #AmtrakResidency.

Yes, it's true, one of my more interesting gigs was as a dining car waitress one summer. And in case that's not enough to bag this gig, I met my half-sister for the first and only time when we had an overnighter in Seattle. And the guy who gave me his copy of Willa Cather's My Antonia out in the middle of nowhere when I told him I was an artist and a writer— I should bag a couple more points for that anecdote as well. And to take it back even further, right now in the studio, I am using a Pullman dining car towel from the last train ride out of Nashville. We didn't steal it. Promise. I swear I remember my mom asking if we could have it. There's more, but let's get me on that train with a laptop, shall we? 

Your truly, 

Mary Addison Hackett

February 21, 2014

Mid-career funk.

Escapism is mental diversion by means of entertainment or recreation, as an "escape" from the perceived unpleasant or banal aspects of daily life. It can also be used as a term to define the actions people take to help relieve persisting feelings of depression or general sadness

Rx: Treated myself to a new field easel. 
If I'm going to escape the banalities of life, I should have a bigger easel and a tank of diesel. 

Mary Addison Hackett, 2012
Old Rockhounds
oil on canvas
16" x 14 "