KYLE HACKETT

photo by Trish McGee

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STATEMENT 
My paintings explore race, class, and social standing through approaches to self-representation and the constructed image. Inspired by nineteenth-and twentieth-century portraiture and precarious modes of depiction, I deconstruct ideas of secure identity and fixed-painting techniques through subtexts of the staged, self-aware portrait. Referencing contraptions, braces, or postures from early photography that might objectify and hold a sitter in place, I relate image-making, inflection, and fixedness to concepts of double consciousness. 


A connected body of work involves vanitas still life paintings created from discarded self- portrait reference photographs. Quickly compressed, twisted, fixed, bound, doubled, and hung, the discarded images take on new forms. Meanwhile, the slower process of making each painting becomes a living record and reflection on the initial need to discard the reference. Interested in format through figure-ground relationships, I further examine how silhouettes leave traces of figurative presence and proximity to space. My work combines the process of expanded portraiture and still-life with the power dynamic and nature of the picture plane.


Often using indirect glazing approaches to layer an image, I consider how content exists in-between spaces and beneath the painted surface. How can slowing down consumable views of figuration challenge understood relationships between image, the surface, and the material? At the same time, how can this process reveal insights into the psychological state of the painter and the painting? By emphasizing conflicts between inner versus outer, I hope to foster new realities and ways of being understood as not black or white, wealthy or poor, but human. 




BIOGRAPHY 
Kyle Hackett (b. Still Pond, MD) earned his MFA from the LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and his BFA in Fine Arts, as a McNair Scholar from the University of Delaware. His paintings explore issues of race, class, and social standing through approaches to self-representation and the constructed image. Hackett has received numerous honors and awards, including DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship and Grant, Civil Society Institute Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center Residency, The Ruth Katzman Scholarship at The League Residency, Best in Show at the 2014 Bethesda Painting Awards Exhibition, and Best in Show at the Regional Juried Biennial at Rehoboth Arts League. He was a semifinalist in the 2016 and 2019 BP Portrait Award (London), honorable mention in the 2019 Art Olympia International Open Art Competition (Tokyo), and finalist in the 2020 Prisma Art Prize 5th Edition (Rome), finalist in the Alexander Rutsch Award for Painting in 2021 and selected for the ArtFields Competition in 2022. 
Hackett’s work has been published in New American Paintings, the Washington Post, and distinguished as "Ten Memorable Paintings of 2014" in the Huffington Post. He received A Mayoral Salute for his solo exhibition and artist talk at Baltimore City Hall Gallery, "Rate of Contingency". Hackett’s work is represented by Goya Contemporary Gallery (Baltimore, MD) and notably collected by Ethan Cohen Gallery (New York), Wangechi Mutu Studio, University Museums at the University of Delaware, University of Maryland, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Trawick Foundation.




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