Mary Addison Hackett: Le Rayon Vert
Through Oct. 17 at Belmont's Leu Art Gallery
Julian Schnabel once told neo-expressionist frenemy Eric Fischl to choose between making a smart painting and making a good one. The best work in Nashville artist Mary Addison Hackett’s Le Rayon Vert, currently on view at Belmont’s Leu Gallery, takes that backhanded compliment and turns it on its head.
These paintings — full of unexciting objects like bowls of fruit, dog heads, typewriters and Tevas — are smart simply because they’re not trying to be smart, and they don’t sacrifice quality in the process. Take the selfie-style painting of Hackett standing in front of her bathroom mirror: The cellphone she’s holding obscures her face, but Hackett manages to pick up more insignificant details like the texture of the sink and the perfect plaid of the bathrobe hanging from the doorframe. The composition is thoroughly contemporary — the off-center framing and shallow depth of field are straight out of a cellphone snapshot — but Addison paints like someone who has no other means of capturing her surroundings.
Check out a few photos I took of the exhibit after the jump.