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@zaxarovcom
May 28, 2024

In "Strange Nature," Delaney Allen presents a series of photographs that transcend traditional landscape photography, offering a profound and innovative exploration of the American West.

His work eschews the familiar romanticism and grandeur often associated with this genre, opting instead to delve into the inherent strangeness of nature through a formalist lens that emphasizes both the bizarre and the beautiful.

Allen’s photographic approach aligns with the ethos of the "New Topographics" movement of the 1970s, which critiqued the picturesque and sublime depictions of landscapes by revealing the banal and the encroaching human impact on nature. However, while the New Topographics artists highlighted suburban sprawl and industrial encroachments, Allen’s images focus on the untamed and the enigmatic aspects of nature. His photographs depict frost-encrusted twists, sulfuric vapors, and crystalline formations—elements that resist immediate recognition and challenge the viewer’s perception.

Each of Allen’s images is an anomaly that demands attention. By capturing phenomena such as frothy skeins and explosive veils of sand, he reveals natural processes and forms that are both fleeting and ancient. These images do not merely document; they transform natural occurrences into sculptural readymades, reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the readymade—everyday objects elevated to art through selection and presentation.

In this sense, Allen’s work is deeply rooted in the photographic tradition that views the medium as a means of selection and abstraction. His use of techniques like colored gels, long lenses, and inversions of color and horizon creates a visual tension between representation and abstraction. This approach not only abstracts the natural forms from their referents but also introduces perceptual ambiguities that enhance the surreal quality of his photographs. The spiky forms of gurgling seas and the geological formations of stalagmites become visually analogous, blurring the boundaries between different natural phenomena.

Allen’s photographs operate in a space where vividness and ambiguity coexist, producing images that are virtual and scaleless, almost screen-like in their presentation. This quality underscores the idea that the world, as presented in Allen’s work, is constituted through the act of photography. His images are not mere representations of the external world; they are discoveries, moments where the strangeness of nature is amplified and recontextualized through the lens of the camera.

Ultimately, "Strange Nature" is an endeavor to refresh our perception of the American West. By embracing and enhancing the strangeness inherent in natural landscapes, Allen’s work resists the domestication of these spaces. Instead, he invites us to see the world anew, through photographs that are as much about the act of seeing as they are about the subjects they depict.

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@zaxarovcom
May 28, 2024

In "Strange Nature," Delaney Allen presents a series of photographs that transcend traditional landscape photography, offering a profound and innovative exploration of the American West.

His work eschews the familiar romanticism and grandeur often associated with this genre, opting instead to delve into the inherent strangeness of nature through a formalist lens that emphasizes both the bizarre and the beautiful.

Allen’s photographic approach aligns with the ethos of the "New Topographics" movement of the 1970s, which critiqued the picturesque and sublime depictions of landscapes by revealing the banal and the encroaching human impact on nature. However, while the New Topographics artists highlighted suburban sprawl and industrial encroachments, Allen’s images focus on the untamed and the enigmatic aspects of nature. His photographs depict frost-encrusted twists, sulfuric vapors, and crystalline formations—elements that resist immediate recognition and challenge the viewer’s perception.

Each of Allen’s images is an anomaly that demands attention. By capturing phenomena such as frothy skeins and explosive veils of sand, he reveals natural processes and forms that are both fleeting and ancient. These images do not merely document; they transform natural occurrences into sculptural readymades, reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the readymade—everyday objects elevated to art through selection and presentation.

In this sense, Allen’s work is deeply rooted in the photographic tradition that views the medium as a means of selection and abstraction. His use of techniques like colored gels, long lenses, and inversions of color and horizon creates a visual tension between representation and abstraction. This approach not only abstracts the natural forms from their referents but also introduces perceptual ambiguities that enhance the surreal quality of his photographs. The spiky forms of gurgling seas and the geological formations of stalagmites become visually analogous, blurring the boundaries between different natural phenomena.

Allen’s photographs operate in a space where vividness and ambiguity coexist, producing images that are virtual and scaleless, almost screen-like in their presentation. This quality underscores the idea that the world, as presented in Allen’s work, is constituted through the act of photography. His images are not mere representations of the external world; they are discoveries, moments where the strangeness of nature is amplified and recontextualized through the lens of the camera.

Ultimately, "Strange Nature" is an endeavor to refresh our perception of the American West. By embracing and enhancing the strangeness inherent in natural landscapes, Allen’s work resists the domestication of these spaces. Instead, he invites us to see the world anew, through photographs that are as much about the act of seeing as they are about the subjects they depict.

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