Natural Causes

Gallery One, Ellensburg, Washington, USA

Nature can stimulate, restore and delight and, on the other hand destroy, devastate and deny opportunities for sustaining life.

The Natural Causes exhibition addresses numerous themes relating to, and ideas about so-called “nature” through the eyes and lives of ten artists. Featured artists included Lycia Trouton as well as Gayle Bard, Michael Brophy, Jack Chevalier, David Nechak, Lynda Rockwood, Ann T. Rosenthal, Joan Stuart Ross, Ellen Ziegler and Susan Zoccola.

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Each artist presented very personal perspectives and/or narratives on the topic by exploring the numerous connections they have or had with their environment(s). Such connections have been established by particular artists often at an early age—connections that may still inform their work today, thus providing the impetus or “cause” for the art making.

This exhibition was launched immediately before the horrific events of September 11th, 2001. With the political and social environment that followed this devastating period, Natural Causes served as supportive artwork to help process these events.

For the purpose of this discussion, Trouton’s “connections” with nature involve her culture, biographical story, place of birth, memory, metaphor and allegory—all the unseen realities that weave their way into our everyday lives and effect how she related to the world around her. She was able to bring these realities together in her piece; a mashup of organic earth and pop culture memorabilia for this show.

Gary Paul Nabhan speaks to the same issue but within a contemporary context in his 1997 book—”Cultures of Habitat – On Nature, Culture and Story.” The author states:

“Both nature and culture are being rapidly redefined, not so much by our advances in understanding them, but by processes of fragmentation, disruption and loss.”

Ultimately, nature is many things to many people. The work featured in Natural Causes shares the internal life of the artists with the outside world, and at the same time provides a heightened awareness of how nature and/or environment transforms our lives. For Trouton, this was a sectarian war on The Island of Ireland that lasted 40 years; her artwork has now touched many Irish, British and Irish Diaspora beyond this curated exhibition.

Original Curatorial Statement by Cheryl Hahn

Edited and revised by Lycia Trouton & Sarah Norrad