Lara Merrett

Photography by Anna Kucera

Lara Merrett’s colour-rich paintings have been compared to the romantic painters of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries: both ‘imagine geographies of space, atmosphere and physicality. For Merrett, it’s the inquiry into the picture plane and surface, balance of ink and acrylic, of depth and opacity, chaos with order and the reference to otherness’ that inspire her works.

Travels through India and Spain as a young artist have also informed Merrett’s amorphous and organic arrangements, which are realized through the layering and pouring of water-based materials directly onto the canvas. No work is ever pre-planned; ‘It’s like magic when the unexpected starts to happen. I love it – it’s completely intoxicating. From start to completion, a work can take anywhere from three days to six months. Each work has its own personality and therefore takes its own time.’

Merrett studied painting abroad at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain, before completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts at the College of Fine Arts, Sydney. In 2018, Merrett was commissioned for the Jackson Bella Room at the MCA Sydney. The installation ‘Paint me in’ encouraged MCA visitors to interact with suspended, looped canvases, immersing the viewer in fields of bright colour. In 2019, Merrett was commissioned by The University of Queensland Art Museum to produce ‘High Stakes’ a two-part project beginning with a temporary outdoor studio residency and culminating with a large installation inside the museum. Other recent exhibitions include ‘WONDER + DREAD’ at Shoalhaven Regional Gallery (2020), Installation Contemporary, curated by Rachel Kent and Megan Robson at Sydney Contemporary (2017) and Superposition of Three Types curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor and Talia Linz at Artspace in Sydney (2017). Her work is held in numerous public collections, including the University of New South Wales, Artbank, Macquarie Bank, Sofitel Hotel and UBS Australia.

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