Theresa Hackett | Around the Bend
April 8 - May 16
High Noon is pleased to present Theresa Hackett’s second exhibition with the gallery, Around the Bend. Hackett’s newest paintings are double-sided works on 72” x 48” aluminum panels suspended in mid-air 12” from the ground, creating paths and portals through the gallery space.
Hackett’s language of abstraction favors unconscious association wherein the temporal world serves only as a jumping off point. She creates a continuous loop of problems and resolutions, pushing a symbiotic approach to image and material until her richly textured surfaces transcend both. There is as much joy in the work as there is tireless exploration, abstraction that serves as a kind of satire of reality. The constant tension of the work threatening to push itself into an identifiable space gives it its potency. Around the Bend is a place between.
Throughout the series’ evolution, amidst the isolation of her studio in rural Pennsylvania and the hyper-uncertainty of 2020, Hackett was heavily influenced by Calder’s Carnival, both in terms of the elevation of naive form as a parody of reality and the idea that one’s physical and psychological environment influences the way they perceive form. Calder noted that “the spiral was the first decorative gesture of primitive cultures,” and it carried with it both a performative element as well as an open system of interpretation. Hackett frequently uses variations of a spiral gesture throughout, evoking visuals of galaxies, digestive tracts, whirlpools, the micro vs. macrocosmic, and the notion of never quite knowing what’s ahead, above, or below— “a landscape of modernist anxiety,” as she describes it.
The titles of the works suggest an altered state, psychotropic or an adjustment to a “new normal,” while the discordant comic and tragic imagery borders on the grotesque. Walking Backwards in a Recurring Dream shows different pathways radiating outwards from a fossilized spiral— turbulent water, checkered linoleum, landscaped stone. Interpretable as an aerial view or a cross-section, the directionality of the spiral nexus forces an animated visual of clashing forms being absorbed. Opposite of the same panel is a centralized terrestrial sphere undulating with a toxic pink cloud cover nestled in a primordial goo. One side of Supernatural Flashback could be the bridge between two neurons or a tree on a hilltop amidst an overlapping of cosmological events. The vertical motion stretching the trunk or axon seems to strain against opposing elements, drooping and erupting. Beneath the icy surface of Hiding in the Shadows is a maelstrom of swirling activity burning through a delicate veneer like wormholes, echoing Kandinsky’s notion that abstraction places a “new” world next to the “real” world.
Though absent of stylistic markers, the work in Around the Bend insists that paintings are always a reflection of the times, or what German philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin calls its “aura,” that is, its “unique presence in time and space.” Hackett remains acutely aware of how her materiality helps create a conduit for abstraction as metaphor for contemporary discourse while substituting the banal for the imaginary.
Theresa Hackett received her MFA at Hunter College, New York, and BFA at University of California, Santa Barbara, College of Creative Studies. She has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout the United States and Italy and is represented by High Noon Gallery, New York. Hackett has participated in over 100 group shows including The Weatherspoon Art Museum, Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UCSB, Santa Barbara, Ca., Contemporary Art Museum Baltimore, and video screenings at The Parrish Art Museum and Mass MoCA. She is a twice recipient of the Pollock Krasner Grant and a New York Foundation Grant, and her most residencies include 2018 at the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy and a 2016 MacDowell colony residency. Her work has been reviewed in Hyperallergic, Art in America, Artnet, Two Coats of Paint, and many other publications.