Leigh Merrill – In Motion

The reconstructed images of artist Leigh Merrill‘s Into the Sunset series, featured in Splash #2, mirror the way in which architectural styles are often blended within cultural communities. Leigh focuses on re-imaging strip malls found in the southwest. The resulting pictures hold comical and lyrical tones filled with references to cultural stereotypes of this region.

The artist also created a series of eleven short video pieces on the environments surrounding her home in Dallas, Texas, functioning as sorts of moving photographs. Find all the full-screen videos on her Vimeo account to experience their full effect. Leigh Merrill’s interview with In the In-Between, Journal of Digital Imaging Artists on her photographic work is also on our recommendation list.

Lone Star from Leigh Merrill on Vimeo.

Mall from Leigh Merrill on Vimeo.

Light Bulb from Leigh Merrill on Vimeo.

Artist Statement

“I make thousands of individual photographs, videos and audio recordings while exploring a city or neighborhood- initially as an archivist or historian might. In the studio, I then digitally assemble and re-assemble these sources to create new videos of imaginary spaces. Each final piece is typically made from tens to hundreds of bits and pieces of different photographs and videos. Some of the images have some veracity, but more often they suggest a visual hyperbole – an embellished scene circulating around a small detail or object that fascinated me. As one spends time with the images their seamless quality slowly unravels.

The street where I live is bordered by three distinct residential neighborhoods, a major toll way and a cluster of car dealerships. As in many cities, there are pockets where zoning seems to overlap. On walks, I find myself continually butting up against physical barriers, the walls of the toll way and streets cut off by fencing and neighborhoods. Curious about the physical and psychological barriers in this space, I created videos that embody how these converging spaces feel – both claustrophobic and expansive at the same time.

These short videos rock back and forth, seemingly suspended indefinitely in a single moment. The movements in the videos are the ambient changes in our surroundings: litter blowing across the parking lot, the movement of clouds, and light and shadows shifting on the street. The subtly of the movement in these videos share as much with photographs as moving images: the vantage point is fixed and the stillness of the scene is amplified by the faint changes in each location. The sound of the mockingbird can be heard throughout many of the videos, offering an audible echo of the conceptual and regional transformations in this work. Like the mockingbird mimicking the call of another bird, these videos mimic and interpret environments. I am interested in creating pleasure and curiosity in seeing the familiar become unfamiliar.”

-Leigh Merrill.

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