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Sketchbook Porn

Guy Merrill’s Geometrical Abstractions

Guy Merrill plays with space. Whether rendering tangled shapes, a wrinkle of fabric or the planetary spheres suspended in actual outer space, he infuses void with structure, and in the process engraves inky darkness (his preferred palette) with the shimmer of incandescence. Though Merrill works in a variety of mediums—video, installation, sculpture and painting—the collision of geometrical abstractions is present throughout his work, a motif that hints at epic crenellations and constellations, made of planes that fold in on themselves with origami-like precision.

“Mobility in my art practice is important,” Merrill says of his process. “I often bring sketchbooks with me wherever I go. Sometimes it feels like they are more crucial than the paintings, sculptures or video installations that I make. That way, studio time isn’t limited to a physical space. It becomes a mindset. If I am out in the world, I always have my art practice at my fingertips.”

He continues, “Recently I started thinking about art-making in terms of geology: I view my work, especially in my sketchbooks, like the fossil remains of ancient organisms accumulating on the ocean floor. Eventually they compress together into limestone. As I go through my artwork, it’s not so much a process of curation as it is one of excavation, layer by layer.”

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