Nature Morte connotes the “life” of the object as stillness, as contained or weighted within the boundary of the frame, suspended eternally between past and present. As “dead nature,” the still-life evokes a sense of loss or a kind of longing for what has been or what will never be. Nature Morte speaks to such longing. Formally related to the still-life but also to the genre of nineteenth century portrait photography and Victorian carte-de-visites, Allen’s series of nine photogravures depict discreet objects and staged tableaux suspended against a lush, velvety blackness.
Nature Morte, not only explores issues of conflict relating to Native Americans but relates to the history of all conflicts. The work contains a tension between the beauty of the object depicted and its real function. Isolated against the expanse of black the lure’s hook glistens, as a warning or marker of treacherous beginnings (or endings).