Nathan Foxton’s paintings don’t fit neatly into a category like impressionism or realism or abstract art. His goal, he explains, is to synthesize multiple styles and approaches to find new ways of engaging the viewer.

“Initially, most of my paintings came from observation,” says the 26-year-old Rochester, New York, native, who studied at the Delaware College of Art and Design before pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at Indiana University. “I started to wonder if I could be more nuanced in the way I allowed imagery to come into my painting. I wanted to inject other sources of information during that observational process to create more points of connection between color and narrative and art history.”

Foxton’s upcoming exhibit at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, February 27–March 21, will showcase a selection of these experiments in which he enables images from nature, history, and his own imagination to “crash into each other,” he says.

For example, Foxton’s The Hunting Party reinterprets an 18th-century painting by Benjamin West depicting a Scottish chieftain saving King Alexander III from an attacking stag. Although the scene is similar, Foxton’s 5-foot-by-7-foot version replaces West’s muted hues and defeated deer with bright, bold colors and a ferocious animal. Foxton also adds in numerous trumpeters, Queen Elizabeth I, and something resembling an iridescent seahorse.

“It’s a weird combination of historical reference and characters made from the colors on my palette,” he says. “I hope it can bring up questions like, ‘What are you hunting in life? What are you trying to conquer?’ Some of the characters look really out of place, so there’s also the idea of whether we are all really focused on our goals.”

Foxton, who graduated in 2014, now teaches painting and art history at Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington as well as a drawing course at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis.