Photography: (Barble lens series)
“numinosity” recognizes in the habits of nature whether microcosmic or macrocosmic
Allison Troxel's lastest series not only defies classification in terms of content, but also in mediums.
The results are abstracts that suggest, rather than define, Nature. Specifically the nature of the vast American West. You may be looking at a horizon, a ridge or the sensuous wrinkle of mud at the tips of your toes. You may be looking at a river rushing at its banks, or a ripple of water that's escaped it's trickle path. Again, you may be looking at the expansive night's sky or flicks of white ash on a black shirt sleeve. You may be seeing a rickety, brave grove of trees on a hillside or a clump of stubborn grass clinging to a tossed clot of dirt. You are looking at an intimate detail of a nude or a gully crowded with willows that drink at the occasional run off.
In other words, scale is impossible to ascertain, and that is one of the aspects of Troxel's work that makes it abstract. Another is the surface that promises texture and feels smooth to the touch. Yet another is the light/darkness tension that narrates the content.
It is impossible to put your finger on the Western landscape content via objectification, but the vast, spacious, shadow and light study conveys what it is to live in a genuine Western environment. Given Troxel's long Montana lineage, including a homesteading great grand parent, a wild western sheriff grandfather, and a renowned naturalist fishing father, Troxel exudes the spirit of the American West, it's freedom, it's refusal to be defined, it's long winter loneliness, and it's utter originality.
By mimicking the sometimes random sometimes selective rules of nature, she creates images that are nature itself. Similar to the processes of the late John Cage, Troxel does not attempt to represent nature, but to provide a forum, a fertile space for nature to create itself.
Troxel paints with emulsion, photographs textures and pigments, and frames with the eye of a cinema-photographer. The result is a series of paintings that are not of anything per se but evoke an ontological beingness in themselves (to borrow from Sartre's language) that are wonderful contemplations, meditations, evocations in and of themselves.
Perhaps it is through her compositions that something is born through image and the work of art becomes larger than any thing it could possibly represent.
In this way, Troxel's work is true to nature, with a capital N. She does not stand outside making judgment calls and decisions, but joins the forces of universal creativity so that the works can spring forth through the same miraculous processes as Nature herself-- indeed, evolutionary.
Simone Ellis, journalist, poet, art critic. Missoula, Montana