Leigh Merrill: American Martini
March 30 - May 4 Opening reception with the artist: March 30, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Additional works on view at the 2019 Dallas Art Fair/Booth C3 April 11 - April 14
American Martini by Leigh Merrill reveals a world that once verdant now appears in a state of dormancy or suspension. Through subjects including urban landscapes, still lives, and dense fields of foliage, Leigh Merrill echoes contemporary anxiety and desire embedded in objects and places.
Working primarily with photography, Leigh Merrill creates digitally collaged photographic and video works that explore the impact of desire, simulation, and perception on our contemporary landscapes. Familiar elements such as the lawn, manicured and manipulated plants, new buildings that mimic other eras and locations, reveal a culture of perpetual longing. The urban landscape is often a post-modern offering of architecture, simulating or referencing other eras or locations. This simulation reveals the desire for what is being referenced; and the mass of our landscapes - built for the car and continuous growth – embody an aspiration for forward momentum within it’s very infrastructure. Merrill’s photographs and videos seek out this longing and desire while echoing the cultural, historical and perceptual forces that impact our experience of place.
Most of Merrill’s digital collages are seamless enough so that on first glance the photographs and videos appear real and slowly through observation reveal their constructed, composited nature. There is a delicate balance for Merrill when creating her work – the images can only be so fake, so real, opening up a space between to consider ideas about beauty or emotional response of longing, melancholy, humor. Her images are not documents of reality, but they could be thought of as documents of our contemporary, post-truth, post-modern reality.
Leigh Merrill was born in 1978 and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She currently lives and works in Dallas, Texas.
Merrill received her BFA from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM and her MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Merrill’s work has been a part of exhibitions at the Fries Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, the diRosa Art Preserve, The Lawndale Art Center, FotoFest International, and the Museum of Texas Tech University. Merrill was a part of the 2011 Fotographia Festival Internazionale di Roma at the Galleria Gallerati in Rome, Italy. Merrill’s work has been included in online and print publications such as the Washington Post, the Design Observer/Places Journal, BLDGBLOG blog, and Arts & Culture Texas. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas Libraries Special Collections, the City of Phoenix, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and various private collections.