Show Dates: 2014-11-01 - 2014-11-30|
Title: An Illustrated Past
Artist: Gary Merrill
Growing up in rural Michigan I found a love of nature that inspired myself in childhood to capture this beauty and the curiosity it created within me. I'm a lifelong artist who has explored and worked in various media from oils to stone carving. Painting with acrylics is my most recent venture, but recently, I have taken a sabbatical from art making to release myself from the intentions and drives that I have used as motive to produce. My work is for sale and I am happy to produce commission pieces upon request.
I began this body of work with the idea of creating a central piece of art for my new residence. I wanted to bring some of my early work into the present with a twist.
In the 1980's I worked as a Technical Illustrator for a numbers of firms that produced electronics, service manuals, educational monographs and industrial designs. I left this career when pen and pencil were replaced with mouse and keyboard. I truly enjoyed the technical illustration that consisted of line work that provided the challenge of graphically making sense of the complex structures and the myriad pieces of products. These illustrations ranged from a simple battery installation to the three-dimensional "exploded view" of a video monitor showing hundreds of components. They were typically intended for use in manuals, books, production sheets and technical bulletins. Consequently, the figures were usually drawn at twice the publication size and then reduced during the publication process. Often they were meant for timely publication of pertinent new material of sometimes "bleeding edge" technology.
My presentation is meant to reproduce this technical art in a manner that is surprising and contrary to its initial intention. Crisp, clean images have become gross, murky anachronisms. Their sharpness is degraded from something precise and technical to more massive, colorful, abstract forms. The process of painting these pieces involves the layering of paint and images. I begin with a vibrant base as a background on which the illustration is then painted at a scale tens of times larger than originally intended. The canvas is then given a muddying glaze to exaggerate its age; taking it from something modern and technical to something that is intended to look more historical. In essence, making these paintings an anachronism on canvas.