LARA MERRETT - by Anna Johnson

SWAB ART FAIR - Barcelona - The shape of things - 2015

A masterpiece is a commodity wedged into the flow of history like strange furniture. Less than a century ago major paintings were autographed in one corner and boxed within a gilded frame. Through time the painting would exchange hands and change frames, out of the artists’ reach and lost to commerce. Caged by objecthood.

Lara Merrett began to interrogate the process of painting by leaving the easel and working on the floor. Her work has been physical, gravitational, fluid and haptic. The vast scale of her painting embraced an engulfing aura, perpetually pushing at the perimeters, eliminating the boundary between the package and the gift.

Beneath her work on the studio floor were drop cloths, porous skins for the run off of ink, acrylic and water. As recently as last year her paintings began to slip from their moorings. Rough sliced with raw edges, sliding from the gallery wall onto the floor like the hem of a vast cape or a loosened flag. Seeking to “shatter her own patterns” Merrett was approaching the anti-monolith. In her newest work, painting becomes performative, a-material, haptic, sculptural yet re-animated. The installation is singular and perpetually changing. What was once considered residue becomes the central subject, the stain becomes the mark. And perhaps this is painting at it’s most physical. Solid but free of the weight of materialism. The frame and the frame work removed.

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