I have followed Mary Addison Hackett’s blog Process since she left LA a few years ago and returned to Nashville where her mother was in the hospital. Unfortunately, as Hackett drove across country, she received word that her mother had died. Since then, Hackett has been dividing her time between LA and Nashville, where she lives and works in her childhood home, sifting through family images and objects. Over the years, the gracious home has gradually evolved from the house she grew up in, to a sprawling artist’s studio with paintings, easels, palettes and other evidence of her robust painting practice filling every room.
For the second installment of the “Ideas and Influences” column, I asked Hackett to put together a list of things she’s been thinking about. Her solo exhibition “Crazy Eyes” is on view at David Lusk Gallery in Nashville through November 8.
[Image at top: Mary Addison Hackett, Seashells, 2014, oil on canvas, 52 x 44 inches.]
1. Stuff and maintenance. The physical stuff. The George Carlin monologue about “Stuff,” stuff. The stuff we maintain and why we maintain it.
2. Essays by Rebecca Solnit—memory, our perceptions of place and identity.
3. Camping: a minimalist, transient space for leisure, domestic, and work activity.
4. Wanderlust, disjointed narratives, and small gestures. While looking through inherited family photographs, I became slightly obsessed with vernacular photography and began collecting found photographs (images above). I’m still fine-tuning my eye for specifics, but I’ve noticed how the need to create a shared narrative with a stranger’s life is almost compulsory and that some of the most interesting narratives happen on the edge of the frame.
5. Vision and focus— metaphorically and literally.
6. Sophie Calle’s piece Exquisite Pain. In brief, a Exquisite Pain is a project that began as one thing and, due to the ending of a relationship, transformed into another. Calle didn’t exhibit the piece until 15 years later, at which point she deemed the breakup “banal.” It’s much more complex than this brief description, but everything about Calle’s piece speaks to me.
7. The night sky, constellations, satellites and flight patterns. (This grouping is attached to wanderlust.)
9. Document. Documentary.
10. Art without ego.
11. Queued up in my virtual reading room: Dylan Thomas, Adventures in the Skin Trade
12. On any given day, I could pack one more item in this list.
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