Buying something — anything — from a hairy Jerry Garcia lookalike in some incredibly remote and rather scary location in the middle of the woods, might deter some people. But Scott Troxel isn’t one of them.
In fact, Troxel rather enjoys his trips to meet up with Garcia’s doppelganger, from whom he purchases wood for his artwork.
“He (Garcia’s double) is so nice. You feel like you go back in time there with old barns and buildings, old bowling pins, abandoned cars from the 1940s — it’s like an episode of ‘American Pickers,’” Troxel says. “But there are also beautiful slabs of mahogany, walnut and other woods.”
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These seemingly useless, aged woods with 50 years worth of dust on them aren’t very appealing to the naked eye. But Troxel, a mixed media artist, sees the true beauty in them and gives them new life, the result of which can be seen in his exhibit “Line and Grain,” which runs through Aug. 31 at the Ocean City Arts Center, with an opening reception 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12.
Troxel studied film at Temple University because he “wasn’t ready” and “not mature enough” for art at the time. He moved to Marmora with his family and worked in product development, which had a “creative component to it, but still left a creative void.” To fill that, he joined the Ocean City Arts League to create art again. And according to Troxel, things snowballed from there.
This is the first solo show for Troxel, now a full-time artist. He developed the show’s theme based on his mixed-media work which can range from “super modern, very glossy” to “more rustic.” But it is always abstract and always a blend, regardless.
“Everything I do is very abstract. I just look for texture and I felt like ‘line and grain’ encapsulated what I do,” says Troxel, who finds inspiration in the work of Frank Stella. “I like putting things together that don’t necessarily go together — old wood from a barn with ultra-modern paint or PVC fencing material — mixing the white, super-modern, just recently manufactured item and putting it in with something that‘s 50 years old … I’m very infatuated with that whole ‘old and new’ thing.”
There will be 32 pieces in this show that include a few of Troxel’s modern abstract paintings, some table-top sculptures, but mostly wall sculptures — a new interest for this artist.
“I like the 3D aspect of wall sculpture. Wall sculptures are an underutilized or underappreciated art. Free-standing sculpture is not always practical for some people. So I started doing wall sculpture. It’s the best of both worlds — painting and sculpture. You can take the idea for a painting, but you have these different planes to work with so it’s not just flat — I’m not limited to a flat canvas.”
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Troxel says he doesn’t really “push upcycling,” but he does wind up repurposing items in his work — mainly because older woods were “made to last.”
“There’s this old piece of walnut (that I purchased) that was (originally) bought in surplus from an old gun manufacturer. It was supposed to be for gun stocks but it was rejected by the company. The cool thing about that is, it was going to be made into a gun, and now it was made into art.”
Then there are the serendipitous finds along the side of the road, such as a Queen Anne cherry table someone put out in the trash.
“I was with my kids and I got out of my car and took it to a wood shop, planed it and got three or four planks of this beautiful wood.
“I embarrassed my kids, but that wood is now in the show.”
‘LINE AND GRAIN’ BY SCOTT TROXEL
When: Now through Aug. 31. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, closed Sundays.
Where: Ocean City Arts Center, 1735 Simpson Ave., Ocean City
Opening reception: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12. It is free and open to the public.