Análekta means “to gather up; to collect” and this is what Merle Addison has done with this exhibition at the Grunt Gallery. This series marks his switch from analogue to digital, using previously made images and reworking them with digital overlaps and hand-drawn lines.
The results are quite spectacular. Yes, most of the images are of flowers and nature, but quite unlike anything that I have seen before. As Dana Claxton states in her monograph ‘Merle has created photos that can be read as spiritual within the realm of the work’s own materiality.’ There is definitely a sense of serenity that is invoked when viewing his images. Even overlays of flowers with hand-drawn lines squiggling across the surface seem to mesh and meld into a strong sense of unity.
In his artist’s statement, Addison states:
Although generally I use photographic images and related processes as the start of the work, I don’t think of the final image as a photograph. Indeed in terms of how a photograph should look is not a concern. How the individual print looks is; the line, colour and textures of my world that I use to share my apophenia. There is an almost inherent lack of control that is integral to my work. Meaning defined and experience sensed is never the same.
I find it interesting that he does not consider the photograph as the final outcome, but I suppose that would make sense seeing that he still manipulates the image further after doing digital overlays by adding hand-drawn lines.
His images are the kind where one really has to sit, look closely and meditate a lot. Surrounded by his images is a little like sitting in a shady arbour of wisteria and other botanical delights.
In creating this oevre, Addison has drawn upon his own image archive bank. In some of the images, scratched lines, archival goo and film emulsions are evident in the work and these extra layers add to the depth of the work hinting at time and space.
These are images that will connect with everyone. How one will interpret them depends, I think, very much on on’s mood at the time of viewing.
análekta (2016). Grunt Gallery. Available at: http://grunt.ca/exhibitions/analekta-by-merle-addison/ [Accessed 17 April, 2016]
Claxton, Dana (2016). Sharing Apophenia – Getting Lost in Merle Addison’s Beauty. Vancouver: Grunt Gallery