Staged, featuring work by artists Ana Fernandez (San Antonio) and Leigh Merrill (Dallas), presents viewers with an oddly familiar yet undeniably off-kilter view of the Texas landscape. Both artists construct strangely discordant, alternate visual realities by recombining, re-contextualizing, and reimagining the mundane, innocuous sights and structures that clutter everyday life. Using photographic documentation as a starting point, Fernandez culls through the neighborhoods of her home city and reconstitutes bits and pieces of what she finds into colorful, sometimes eerie, often monumental oil paintings of urban domestic settings that are as mysterious as they are whimsical. Like Fernandez, Merrill’s final works are also created using various combinations of hundreds of photographs that are digitally altered to render new and unusual landscapes—both still images and extremely slow-moving videos completely devoid of any human presence—that deftly straddle the line between fact and fiction.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, Ana Fernandez received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000 and her MFA from UCLA in 2004. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions throughout the country including recent shows at the McNay Art Mueum in San Antonio, L2kontemporary in Los Angeles, and Women and Their Work in Austin, all within the last year. In addition to other solo exhibits in Chicago, Santa Monica, and LA, Fernandez’s work has been included in group exhibitions across the United States. Along with her artwork, Fernandez has gotten national attention as the proprietor and chef of The Institute of Chili, an acclaimed food truck known in the Alamo City and beyond for its bold and innovative menu that gives a new twist to traditional Tex Mex cuisine. Ana Fernandez currently lives and works in San Antonio, Texas.
Leigh Merrill received her BFA from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM in 2001 and her MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California in 2009. Merrill’s work has been a part of exhibitions throughout the United States in venues such as the Phoenix Art Museum, the diRosa Art Preserve, The Lawndale Art Center, the Tremaine Gallery, and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. Merrill’s work has been included in online publications such as the Design Observer Places Journal, BLDGBLOG blog and IGNANT blog. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the City of Phoenix and the California Institute of Integral Studies as well as various private collections. Merrill was born in 1978 and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She currently lives and works in Dallas, Texas.