Kenneth Merrick: Beats & Pieces

Beats & Pieces brings together a collection of recent work by Kenneth Merrick spanning drawing, painting, sculpture and sound.

  • Opening Date: Wednesday, 26 April 2017
  • Closing Date: Sunday, 14 May 2017
  • Opening Time: Tue-Fri 11-5pm, Sat 11-4pm, Sun 11-3pm

Grounded in DIY approaches and processes, his hybridised images, objects and soundscapes hack the cache of his aesthetic influences. From the flotsam and jetsam of graphic tropes, to the pooling mass of sample culture, to the pit of bargain basement b-grade oddities. The geography is rough and unsteady.

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Kenneth Merrick's large unstretched canvas paintings Ground Zero and May the Horse Be With You present apocalyptic imaginings and psychedelic dreamscapes. In Ground Zero, conspiracy theories such as reptilian men are paired with popular commercial products like Nike sneakers. May the Horse Be With You is an amalgam of various pop culture reference, such as the lightsaber and 'poop' emoji, and uncanny metamorphic figures with idiosyncratic faces. These images represent the various thoughts that may invade Merrick's mind at any given time. Merrick's work is informed by the theories of Gestalt psychology, particularly its theory of visual perception, which stipulates that perceptions are the products of complex interactions among various stimuli.

Merrick's other paintings can be read as a mapping of this process of visual perception. The almost fluorescent geometric shapes dance within a mottled and fuzzy space and faces and bodies come in and out of focus as the viewer is drawn into the works. One can imagine the inner workings of the mind as it formulates memories and experiences through what it has subconsciously been seen and heard. The rhythmic quality to the paintings refer to Merrick's background in music, as he has both a Bachelor of Design and Visual Arts from Unitec and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Auckland. This is echoed in the presence of musical instruments crafted out of unexpected domestic objects, such as a biscuit tin for the body of a guitar, and a salad bowl as a drum. Again, this reflects Merrick's interest in the uncanny, of playing with the line between what is recognisable and what is mysterious to us. These works are functioning musical instruments, and Merrick used them in an improvised performance at Whitespace on the 29th of April.

Julia Craig

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Kenneth Merrick is an Auckland based artist whose work currently orbits around drawing, painting and digital/analogue media. Merrick graduated with a Bachelor of Design and Visual Arts, Unitec in 2012 and completed a Bachelor of Music, University of Auckland in 2004. Over the past five years his works have featured in a variety of exhibition settings and spaces in New Zealand, and overseas.



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