Lara Merrett interrogates the relationship between painting and its surrounding architecture with site-specific work that invites us to enter and navigate its folds. Three-dimensional painting is a relatively new departure for Merrett’s practice, and she utilises a ubiquitous staple of the artist’s studio, the humble drop sheet or painter’s cloth, as material from which to create an immersive environment of colour. Merrett has used a variety of applications of paint — spraying, brushing and pouring — to create a vibrant palette from which to experiment and play.
Moving beyond the traditional format of the framed painting on a flat wall, Merrett transforms the surface of her painting into topographical contours, shaping and layering the loose cloths through the space from the ceiling to the floor. Hue and opacity, shape and volume map a haptic and organic landscape of emotion and romanticism, of consciousness and the unconscious. Her work draws upon abstractionism and colourist practice, expanding the parameters of the exhibition of painting through scale and form. The work gives shape to painterly gesture as Merrett worked in-situ, intuitively responding to the physicality of the space and the surrounding works within the exhibition.
Merrett has exhibited extensively internationally and nationally, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne; UQ Museum, Brisbane, Perth; Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA); Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong; and Swab Art Fair, Barcelona. She has been commissioned for various projects including the St Regis Hotel in Chengdu, China; the Victorian Tapestry Workshop for St Michaels Church, Melbourne; and the Sofitel Hotel, Melbourne.