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March 03, 2014

March.

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, visitwww.davidluskgallery.com.
Photograph: Tamara Reynolds
Photograph: Tamara Reynolds
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