Kyle Hackett (b. Still Pond, MD) is a Visual Artist based in Washington, D.C. and Professorial Lecturer in Studio Art at American University. He earned his MFA in Painting from the Hoffberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art and his BFA in Fine Arts, as a McNair Scholar from the University of Delaware. Hackett has completed residencies including: The League Residency in NY as recipient of the Ruth Katzman Scholarship, Contemporary Artists Center, NY and Vermont Studio Center, where he was the recipient of the Civil Society Institute Fellowship. Hackett has received numerous honors and awards, including Best in Show at the 2014 Bethesda Painting Awards Exhibition, making him the youngest winner in the contest's history. Additionally, Hackett won Best in Show at the 2015 Regional Juried Biennial at Rehoboth Arts League. His work has been featured and written about in New American Paintings, the Washington Post, and distinguished as "Ten Memorable Paintings of 2014" in the Huffington Post. Hackett was a semifinalist for the 2016 BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Hackett's work is represented by Goya Contemporary (Baltimore, MD) and notably supported and collected by Ethan Cohen New York, University Museums at University of Delaware, Wangechi Mutu Studio and the Trawick Foundation. Hackett has exhibited work in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Florida (Miami Art Fair) Washington, D.C. and New York.
Manipulating the authority of representational portraiture, my work deconstructs historical ideas of secure identity and fixed-painting techniques through subtexts of the staged, self-aware portrait. I highlight contingencies between self and the constructed image as I attempt to clarify my contemporary hopes, fears and insecurities about racial and socioeconomic progress. Often posing as sitters from precarious nineteenth-and twentieth-century modes of portrayal, I create work rooted in the need for empathy and a historical desire for connection and feeling. A non-figurative body of work involves still life paintings created from discarded reference photographs of self-portraits that were once ruled out.
Using academic multilayered painting approaches, I unpack the technical and social framework created by, but not limited to, art-historical traditions. By exploring a provisional approach to self-representation, I emphasize conflicts between the inner and the outer, in order to foster new realities and new ways of being understood as not brown or white, wealthy or poor, but human. Often-acknowledging classical method's incapacities for telling the truth, I stress ideas of vulnerability, false glamorization and anxiety of reconciling the past with the present.