Kyle Hackett earned his MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). His paintings explore race, class, and social standing through approaches to self-representation and the constructed image. Often inspired by nineteenth-and twentieth- century modes of portrayal, Hackett deconstructs historical ideas of secure identity and fixed- painting techniques through subtexts of the staged, self-aware portrait. A related body of work involves still life "vanitas paintings" from discarded reference photographs of self-portraits that were once ruled out. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and publications including: New American Paintings, Washington Post, and the Huffington Post. Hackett’s work is represented by Goya Contemporary Gallery (Baltimore, MD) and notably collected by Ethan Cohen Gallery (New York). Hackett is Assistant Professor in Painting and Drawing at James Madison University.
About the work in Collective Disquiet:
I'm interested in how light can animate proximity, and authenticate figurative presence in space. I explore figure vs. ground as conflict beneath formality whereby in order to process the image means to slow down the view, suspend judgment, and get inside its surface. By reframing these contingencies, the painted figure offers a reminder (to the viewer) of how it's being seen while negotiating its physical material space. New Contention was completed during quarantine in Washington, DC.
"After Builder Series #5":
I began creating still life “vanitas paintings” from discarded reference photographs of self-portraits that had been crumpled and tossed aside. The slow process of painting is documentation and reflection about coming to terms with the initial need to discard or revise. My discarded reference photo was crumpled and hung with items on my refrigerator (magnet, newspaper, and postcard). I also included a historic photograph of my grandfather who I never had the chance to meet but saw for the first time in this image — this year. By including his youthful appearance in the painted image, I consider time, legacy, and in-between spaces of a double portrait.
"State of Deliberation":
I examine how elements of identity are often nested inside each other. The side borders are actual tape (temporary) and the top and bottom are painted (fixed). Most of my work, in some way, references constraints, contraptions, or braces from early photography, that might objectify and hold a sitter in place. I'm interested in the introspective and dynamic perception of freedom in organizing how one presents oneself in an image, which becomes a living document of a particular moment, belief, or striving.
oil on copper 15 x 12 inches (framed) 2020
After Builder #5
oil on aluminum 20 x 16 inches 2020
State of Deliberation
oil, graphite, tape on panel 20 x 16 in 2020
(detail) State of Deliberation
oil, graphite, tape on panel 20 x 16 inches 2020