Merryn Trevethan featured by John McDonald in Good Weekend – Saturday, 1 September 2018
Merryn Trevethan, Decentralised Cities #4, 2018, Acrylic and image transfer on board with UV varnish, 15.3 by 15.3 by 5 cm
Read the article below or on the Good Weekend.
Art: Merryn Trevethan
By John McDonald
Lives: River Valley, Singapore. Age: 42. Represented by: Fox Galleries, Melbourne; Yeo Workshop, Singapore; no Sydney gallery.
Her thing: Prints and paintings of futuristic megacities adrift on fields of lurid colour.
Our take: Since moving to Singapore in 2014, Merryn Trevethan has become fascinated by the image of the 21st-century global megalopolis. In big Asian cities, the skyline is constantly evolving, a skyscraper forest lit up at night like an amusement park. On the outskirts of town, millions of people cluster in high-rise apartment blocks.
In Ruin Nation, at Fox Galleries in Collingwood, Trevethan captures the drama of rapid urbanisation expedited by the digital revolution. Her floating cities are science-fiction dystopias which seem to be born not from simple need but from our growing immersion in virtual reality.
Using a mixture of acrylic painting and digital printing, Trevethan’s works suspend clusters of tall buildings against abstract swathes of colour. The effect can be hallucinogenic, especially in a print such as Ruin Nation (56cm x 100cm; edition of five, with one artist’s proof), where cityscapes mirror each other. The mixture of detailed imagery and planes of colour reflects not only the city but the network of circuits and wires that keep it running. It’s a vision of contemporary life as a labyrinth in which we are so embedded that we’ve stopped looking for an exit, and in which a surfeit of information makes it increasingly difficult to be sure of anything.
Can I afford it? Although Trevethan has been exhibiting regularly for more than a decade, she might still be classed as an emerging artist. Her least expensive works are three mixed-media pictures on wedgeshaped boards: Exploded Cities #2, Decentralised Cities #4 (above) and Thin Cities #2 (all 15.3cm x 15.3cm x 5cm), at $500 each. The largest and most expensive piece in the show is the painting Disconnected Cities #1(112cm x 50cm). At $4200, this is a long way from the artist’s record price of $10,000.
Where can I have a squiz? Fox Galleries, 63 Wellington Streetreet, Collingwood, until September 14; foxgalleries.com.au.