Defying the boundaries of categorization and embracing the dynamism of his own free will, fine artist Drew Merritt is paving his own path straight to the heart of the Los Angeles art scene. The New Mexico native embodies a sense of rebellion both in his personal and creative aesthetics. Shuffling in and out of various art schools throughout his twenties, Merritt decided to lay his roots down in Los Angeles in 2011 after driving up and down the California coast for a few weeks.
His work often Christianizes ambiguous characters that are cast as heroes, villains, underdogs, lovers, and friends. This combination lends his large-scale oil paintings a personal element that provokes an emotional resonance within the audience. Devastatingly beautiful characters lay flush against a white canvas, a signature aspect of his work that lends a distinct element of drama to the world in which his muses exist. Drew Merritt creates work that dunks his spectator in a fantastical world where light and darkness coexist seamlessly, inviting guests to immerse themselves completely.
In this studio visit, Anthony Williams captures a body of work to be featured in Drew Merritt‘s solo art exhibition entitled “REQUIEM” opening this Saturday, September 26th from 7-10PM at Soze Gallery (935 N. Fairfax Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90046).
“REQUIEM” is meant to mirror life and its individualized complexities. Due to my discomfort with being categorized as “a pretty girl artist,” most of the pieces feature attractive women in varied states of conscious and unconscious reflection. I’ve found that often times, the more you distance yourself from something, the more connected with it you become. Although I have a deep understanding of what the paintings mean to me, each objects placement, subject matter and their symbolism, it’s more important that the viewers connect and find their own personal meaning within each piece. I feel that providing detailed explanations of my intent directs people to how they should feel before experiencing the work and puts a box around how they can be interpreted. The show title is in reference to the baroque style of painting and a general loss of honesty in persona and truth in expression. A sentence that keeps coming to mind when thinking of the show’s content is “I’d rather be genuinely sad than artificially happy.” – Drew Merritt