Art Review: Trish Nixon’s boi blue, paintings, collage, manipulated photographs, and found objects
by Json Myers
St. Joseph, Mo. – The title piece, boi blue, is twice the size of most of the paintings in the exhibit, and its monochromatic composition is powerful in its simplicity. The two panels are physically joined by a chain. The ends of the chain are loops, one on each end, and there is something familiar about those rings, biological. The arch between them is a catenary arch, and its structural strength shows in its shape, alternately male and female and powerfully, confusingly sexual.
But this is not the piece that commands your attention when you enter the gallery; it is the smaller painting, tucked in the back, that grabs you. “trans POWER,” it proclaims, and you can feel it. “skin deep,” is written in smaller but clear text across the top of the painting, its bright white communication contrasting with the dripping black background.
As you pull back, you see this dripping paint happens a lot, like the paint was applied viscerally, not with delicate brushes but with bluntness. Many of the grounds on which the text is inlaid (sprayed) appear to be battlegrounds. Their precisely constructed panels contrast sharply with the aggression of the painted surface. There is nothing casual about any of the visual decisions. A command of color is obvious in the paintings and gives us insight that this artist knows the visual language. All the paintings feature text, though not all the text is easy to read, and in places, it has been obviously censored. In “Super Soaker,” there are multiple areas of blacked-out text (including one that is self-aware). Still, there is enough context for us to understand that these alternating feelings of being removed from view and subjugated to scrutiny are personal.
In the artist’s words, “Over the past five years, my work has become more raw, more sensual, and, more erotic. I am taking a discursive stance on aesthetics and on what is allowed as far as a dialogue surrounding sex and art in our culture.”
Trish Nixon, blue boi, will be on view at the International Trucking Service Extra Fine Art Gallery on weekend afternoons in May from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A reception will be held Saturday, May 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The artist will be in attendance.