On Friday (Jan. 25), Paintings for Dragons, a solo exhibition by artist Jon Merritt (Art BFA 12), opens at O’, an artist-run project space in Los Angeles created by CalArts alum Louise O’Donnell (Art BFA 12).
The show features Merritt’s laser-cut paintings of abstract geometric forms, which the artist named “manifolds.” The paintings also exist as virtual designs in Merritt’s video game Dragon on a Snowflake, which he released at the end of 2018. The exhibition explores the relationship between the artist’s tangible paintings and their virtual counterparts. An interactive demo of the video game will be showcased at the gallery opening.
The video game exemplifies the collaborative nature of CalArts' culture. Cory Hanson (Art BFA 11) composed the score, and Merritt created the game on the publishing platform Virtual Dream Center, a creation of CalArtians Antone Konst (Art BFA 11) and exchange student Jean-Baptiste Lenglet.
From Merritt's artist statement:
I look at the last ten years of my art practice as one extended play session through which a recurring form factor has emerged. I came to call these forms “Manifolds.” This dynamic term of the “manifold” is primarily derived from the word’s mechanical concept, that of a “chamber branching into several openings.” In a physiological sense a heart is a manifold directing blood, as is the brain, sending and receiving electrical impulses.” The resulting paintings, being flat and not thermodynamic become objects for contemplation within a larger system, like a diagram.
Originally from Munster, Indiana, Merritt lives and works on Plum Island in Massachusetts. He discovered his interest in painting geometric abstract art in high school, while working for a local artist and gallerist. In addition to continuing his painting series, the artist is also expanding his practice into new media. His work has been exhibited in art spaces such as the Art Lot in Brooklyn, NY; Steel House Gallery, Rockland, ME; Jankossen Contemporary Art, New York, NY; Co-Prosperity Sphere, Chicago, IL; and Jace Space in Los Angeles.
The artist-run project space O’, operates as a part of O’Donnell’s art studio. According to O’s website, “Through a mix of exhibitions, special projects, and public outreach programs, the space focuses on exploring larger existential concepts through art and cultivating community – artist to artist, artist to viewer and artist to neighbor.”
Paintings for Dragons runs through Feb. 16, 2019.
Paintings for Dragons
Jan. 25-Feb. 16
O’ Project Space
2618 Pasadena Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Jan. 25, 7-11 pm