May 22, 2013

Announcements and Symmetry.

This a bit of a studio update/blog post. If you're on my mailing list you may have received it. If you're not on my mailing list, and feel shorted for finding this out second-hand, shoot me an email posthaste and I'll add you.

I am pleased to announce that "Mystic Hovercraft," has been purchased for the Music City Center Collection and is now installed. And a shout out to Veronica Kavass and the Nashville Scene for highlighting my painting in an article she wrote about the collection: 
Mary Addison Hackett, Mystic Hovercraft 
As a painter, Hackett is a poet. In a sense, her painting shows the collection's true scope because it does not conjure Nashville. It captures the viewer's gaze not because it depicts something local, but because the artist commands her use of color, space, the movement of lines, the expression of the composition. If this happens to be connected to a Southern landscape, then so be it; it could just as well be the Alpine foothills in 1910. This work may be inspired by a sense of place, but it is not distinctly about it. It exists on its own as the work of a painter who knows how to transfer her experience to the canvas without being too explicit.
Full article is here.

Mystic Hovercraft, 2008, oil and acrylic on canvas

I love the "Alpine Foothills  in 1910" reference. So perfect. Being someone who has spent every decade of their life as an artist in a different city, I've found it difficult to form a consistent identity with a specific place, at least as far as labels go. Perhaps because of this, a sense of place continues to infiltrate much of my art, whether it be abstract or figurative, or while working in Los Angeles or Nashville, or wherever.

In Los Angeles, you can see some of my work as part of the public arts installation, "Levitational" at LAX in Terminal 3, and then grab a drink at Encounter while mulling over the art. I completed a series of 20 watercolors titled, "Levitating Sticks and Rocks." They look something like this:

The show was curated by John David O'Brien and will be up through December of 2013.


The guiding concept for Levitational is to exhibit art works in which gravity is clearly defied, either in practice or in appearance. Defying gravity has long been linked to magic and states of wonder. It has also been integral to the success of art forms in which the magnetic forces that draw everything down to the planet are momentarily suspended whether in reality or in the mind's eye. It is coincidentally also how take off and flight are achieved. Taking advantage of this overlap is at the core of this proposal for LAX.
 The artists selected for inclusion in this exhibition, Wendy Adest, Kimber Berry, Daniel Brodo, Margaret Griffith, Mary Addison Hackett, Rebecca Ripple, Steve Roden and Joseph Santarromana/Erika Suderburg, work with a mixture of drawings, paintings, mixed media works, video and sculpture to address the condition of seeming weightless-ness or how gravity is defied. The artists in this exhibition have themselves been interested over time in the mysteriousness and history of levitational forces. They present work of theirs in which levitational forces play an important role in the viewer's experience of the art.
The intent is also to reference and key into the state of dreams and daydreams in which the laws of physics are often suspended momentarily. It is also an invitation to the passerby to ponder for a moment the power (of the imagination) that allows us to conquer gravity through flight.

-John David O'Brien

* I was a little surprised at exactly how obvious a connection there is between "Mystic Hovercraft" and "Levitating Sticks and Rocks." 5 years apart. Uncanny, no? And even more strange is that "Mystic Hovercraft" was painted in my Culver City studio and now hangs in Nashville, while the "Levitating Sticks and Rocks" were painted in Nashville and are hanging in Los Angeles. How's that for symmetry?

May 13, 2013

Picture This.

2 PM Espresso Break at the Suburban Summer School of Painting Program 

This Week's Schedule: 

  • Break Fast: Kitchen Sketches To Start The Day

  • Small Oil Paintings About Being Outside

  • Timing is Everything: Fast Drying Acrylic Washes in the Sun

  • Chill: Watercolors About Nothing

  • The Knife Aquatic: Palette Knife Pool Paintings

For more info and class fees, contact the registrar at the Suburban Summer School of Painting Program via email or handwritten correspondence.

May 04, 2013

Around Painting.

I had to clean a portion of the house the other day. I removed all the gessoed panels from the dining room, scrubbed the gesso splatters from the floor and sequestered all my stretching hardware and tools into a neat corral on a victorian marble top table. It looked like a dining room again. With the exception of the large oil painting resting on the sideboard and the bucket of gesso nestled in a planter, you'd never know the dining room is actually a prep room.

After that I continued working in the studio. I threw away paint rags away and made sure jars of medium were out of my footpath. Things were getting out of hand. I swore I'd never work with oil and acrylic in the same spacetime continuum...and yet.

I have mixed feeling about my racing slick panels. I've done this before- the slicks, but I forgot how labor intensive it is. I alternate between glee and anguish. After working with natural colors for a few years, I switched to a hi-fructose palette for some of the work. I wanted to experiment with my watercolors on a larger scale and not on paper. I'm also working on 3-4 types of painting in the studio. If you were to ask me why I am working like this, I'd have to say it comes from a sense of urgency,  though while looking at my statements, it's obvious that I'm also simply telling my truth in painting. I was reminded of that the other day while writing a blurb for a painting that was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and his "truths" in painting.
Nice gainer, yes? Just wait for my dismount.

I'm closing in on show titles.

The semester ended today. A few of my students thanked me. Unrelated, a couple of weeks ago, a woman I know from LA contacted me wanting to know if I could tell her about my process-my motivation for working in the studio. She had been having trouble getting in the studio. It's rather simple for me: I'm driven. I love what I do. It's challenging in a good way. It's also my vocation, so I show up every day. I suggested she read Art and Fear, a book that discreetly made its way around the graduate studios a long time ago. I pulled it off my shelf to get the author's name. As I picked it up to place it back on the shelf, I opened it randomly to page 83, paragraph 3.
"The corollary here is that the greatest gift you have to offer your students is the example of your own life as a working artist."
Fancy that. The last day of school year. I must have read that years ago because I modeled my approach to teaching on my practice as a working artist. All in all, a nice piece of symmetry as I wrapped up that chapter.

May 02, 2013

Yesterday: The studio is a wreck. This is good.

I'm actually supposed to be updating my bio and writing another artist statement, but right before the dog and I hit our respective meditation cushions, I was in the studio and had one of those embarrassingly over the top I HEART painting moments I get every now and then. I'm still newly enamored with having finally married my watercolor practice with my painting-painting practice, I have 38 kitchen sketches completed, and out of left field, a painting of a skunk I just started. I proceeded to revel in the elasticity of my painting practice and how that even after 30 years, painting is still wide open for me. This is what keeps it fresh.

And never underestimate the power of a jar of fluorescent paint arriving in the mail. Instant bling.

May 01, 2013

May Day

a recent to-do list on the back of an unopened envelope:
dog tag
soy creamer
bank depo
a long distance telephone number
a measurement for a cross brace
list of paints to order
notes from a dharma talk
a sketch of how to suspend something from the ceiling
more measurements
a patch of pointillism
a rough sketch of how to suspend something from the ceiling
sit tonight 6:30 pm
9am soy creamer
guns to c.
2 thumbnail sketches
upcoming decisions:
attend a 1-day meditation retreat
attend an invitation-only luncheon/reception/press day for local artists involved in the convention center collection
The meditation retreat is winning so far, but professional obligation could win out. I used to view these things as a dress-up break from the studio but....
decisions that settled themselves due to new deadlines:
rent studio in the desert this summer
gave way to
stay in town and make work for 2 solo shows that overlap this fall.
I've been working for 2+ weeks prepping supports for the above shows. I'm almost done building and sanding the panels for one show. The panels are gorgeous in their own right, but whoa. I finally took a break from gessoing and started painting on one. Holy cow. And thus...

I'm also having a déjá vu about this- the whole thing-the show, the gallery, the work- as though one day these particular paintings were an inevitable. The other show was pushed up a few months, so no pressure, but I need a show title and some other things in 2 weeks. Technically, and I do mean technically, I'm running the gamut of painting techniques and pulling from all my MO's and experimenting with new ones.

Some good changes/challenges are ahead. I've made a decision abut something which I have to trust will be for the better, even if currently it makes me a bit nervous.

Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float." -Alan Watts.

Back in LA, the 20 watercolors I did as part of the LAX installation are in place- details and announcement forthcoming, and PRECOGNITO and INCOGNITO at the Santa Monica Museum of Art are May 9th and 11th respectively. This year's piece is one of my favorites. Meow.
cropped teaser image, I need to find the whole image....

And so it goes. All paint, all the time.