Theresa Hackett | Slippery Slope
March 22 - April 22, 2018
High Noon is proud to present Slippery Slope, an exhibition of bold, visceral new works by Theresa Hackett. The show consists of three large-scale works on wood panel, a material Hackett uses to great effect--- scraping, sawing, carving, and sanding her surfaces to a transcendental exterior that stretches far beyond the maelstrom of media at her disposal. Also included are a collection of small works on panel, that seem to quote from the complex non-linear narrative of Hackett’s abstract paintings.
This new body of work builds on the artist’s elemental vocabulary-- the bricks, the clouds, the drilled holes, mounds and terrain. She explains, “As I experience the world and see how it shifts, I try to create relationships that depict those shifts as we slide from one understanding to another.” These paintings are also a way of peeling away the past, like a tide unearthing objects. In A Trail of Messages, Hackett paints a sort of cross-section of earth, adorned with a forest-like landscape with a menacing opalescent fog hovering atop. The work is supported by bricks taken from beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, which are man-made but returning to an organic state through the effects of time and nature. Installed amongst them is a sculptural yet graphic circular form reminiscent of a well-worn tire. It seems to both reflect the balance of the organic versus the inorganic found in her paintings as and to integrate the work into its very purposeful pictorial/ground relationship. The fact that the bricks collected from their environment were daily concealed with sand, then uncovered and exposed, highlights the inevitable socio-political and environmental themes inherent to Hackett’s work upon a slower read.
Another work, Big Rock Candy Mountain, appropriately titled for the 48 square feet of wall-space that it occupies, evokes a shoreline, a mountain, or both. Sculptural radioactive donuts are laid into the panel, each with a personality so distinct, one gets the sense they are somehow living--- colored by nature with the seductive markings of a venomous sea creature--- exposed by the tide’s withdrawal to reveal something out of place. The name is derived from a 1920s folk song written by Harry McClintock during his nomadic years wandering the country, living homeless and dreaming of a place with “cigarette trees” where “bulldogs have rubber teeth.” Over the years, through iterations by different artists, the lyrics were white-washed, speaking to history’s vulnerability in a time when truth itself is on a slippery slope.
Hackett describes her paintings as a meditation on “gaslighting,” wherein truth itself can be difficult to discern. The artist is a political entity, and this work asks what it means to create in a society at war with itself and wrestling with truth. This marriage of the abstract and the socio-political is most evident in her third large painting, Melting Down, in which the forms of the painting itself seem to be pulled down, constricted to a point of release that expresses itself in appearing as the painting’s entrails poured out onto the floor. What is revealed provides further questions, not answers, and fulfills the artist’s goal to maintain an open system within which her paintings are experienced.
Theresa Hackett received her BFA from College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara and her MFA at Hunter College, New York. Recently, Hackett was awarded her second Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, a MacDowell Residency, and she received a NYFA Fellowship in 2009. She has had numerous solo shows and has participated in many group shows and museum projects; such as “New View,” at the Contemporary Museum of Art in Baltimore; “Art on Paper,” at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; and “Starting Here: A Selection of Distinguished Artists from UCSB,” Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA.
The American Scholar | Earth, Abstracted by Noelani Kirschner
Two Coats of Paint | Theresa Hackett: Melt down by Sharon Butler