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 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.
Working with thousands of individual photographs the artist makes of architecture and landscaping, Merrill digitally assembles these sources to create photographs and videos of imaginary spaces. Some of the images have veracity, but more often they suggest a visual hyperbole – an embellished scene circulating around a small object or detail. 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 of truth and fiction for Merrill when creating her work. Her images are not documents of reality, but they could be thought of as documents of our contemporary, post-truth, post-modern reality.
Selected additional Information:
Chapter dedicated to work from This Place in Theories in Digital Composite Photographs: 12 Artists and Their Work by Yihui Huang