The Art of Annie Truxell
Annie Truxell is an American painter born in Iowa in 1929. Educated at Antioch College, Truxell spent the majority of her adult life in Spain on the island of Mallorca. A close friend and associate of many of the best known artists and writers of her generation, Truxell has had a fascinating life. She currently lives in Asheville, NC.
While Truxell is ordinarily referred to as an American Surrealist, the description does not entirely do her visionary work justice. Truxell’s paintings are masterpieces of fine detail and remarkable skill. This largely self taught artist has honed her craft to an astonishing degree, creating dreamy, still worlds that pull the viewer into a universe all their own. The figures who populate her paintings, from blue faced baboon like creatures to humans caught just at the edge of transformation, could be considered whimsical if they did not also contain an almost sinister quality of darkness. Her luminous color and clear attention to composition make these extraordinary paintings something that goes beyond pure Surrealism, hovering on the edge of abstraction yet never entirely leaving the visible world. This balance between the physical and the emotional is key to Truxell’s work; the figures pull you in to a space that cannot quite be discerned, attracting as they also frighten, immediate yet removed.
The Early Years
In Truxell’s early work, a devotion to large, blocky shapes can be seen. Figures crowd the foreground and the palette is muted. Admittedly, part of the calm palette may be time: Truxell, as a poor young artist in Greenwich Village, tended to buy house paint rather than oils. Due to the strength of her drawing and line, however, the essential gravitas of these images were unaffected. Her work in the 1950s and 60s is reminiscent of her good friend Willem de Kooning in his Women series or to contemporary sculpture in its solidity and shape. Whimsical touches abound in these early pieces, from the wild hair of the figure in At Last We Found Each Other to the quizzical glances of the woman standing inexplicably next to a horse. Truxell, even when her work is at its darkest, never loses her sense of humor.
The Deia Years and Beyond