Each month, the Luce Foundation Center partners with neighboring Flashpoint Gallery to bring local artists to speak about their own work and the inspiration they take from SAAM's collection. We'll round out our summer talk series on Saturday, August 27 with Jackie Hoysted, multimedia artist and visual arts curator at Solas Nua, a DC-based arts organization dedicated to contemporary Irish arts. The Artist Talks series is presented in collaboration with CulturalDC.
"What makes someone an American? How do you decide what is 'American art'?" These are two of the most common questions visitors ask us at the Luce Center information desk. In her work as a curator, Irish-born, Bethesda-based artist Jackie Hoysted asks the same questions, but in exploration of the Irish identity. Hoysted adopts the view of Irish nationalist Thomas Davis, who said, "It is not blood that makes you Irish but a willingness to be part of the Irish Nation." Similarly, SAAM has the works of many foreign-born artists who have become part of our American nation.
Hoysted was born in Dublin, Ireland, and earned a computer science degree from Trinity College. She then worked for the transportation industry in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where she's lived for about 20 years. Feeling professionally unsatisfied, she went back to school and earned a fine arts degree from the Corcoran College of Art & Design. She identifies a "need to create order in a world that is confusing at times" as her primary reason for making art. Hoysted's work highlights inconsistencies and conflicting ideas about issues that interest her, like identity, feminism, religion, and health. Many of her pieces also include a participatory element, like having viewers take a lollipop of the wall or asking people who are quitting smoking to mail her their last cigarette.
On Saturday, Hoysted will talk about the work and influences of Alice Neel and Irish artist Sean Scully. There is also a compelling connection between her work and that of Romaine Brooks, as well. In her Ne Pas Sourire (Don't Smile) series, she paints her friends and acquaintances, who exhibit the qualities she admires in friends: mental strength, toughness, and character. Like Brooks' portraits, she used a limited color palette and there is often little background imagery, which keeps the viewer's focus on the subject.
We're looking forward to having Jackie Hoysted speak with us about her ideas and how she views herself as an Irish-American artist. Given that she didn't start making art until after she moved to the United States, we're espeically curious to learn how living and working in America has shaped her art and identity. Please join us at 1:30pm on Saturday for Jackie's presentation and a short Q & A afterward.