Show runs: March 30 – May 4, 2019
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 an 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.
pictured above: Leigh Merrill, Red Martini, 2019, pigment print, 25″w x 20″h