'As a child, my imagination mixed with the tales and legends I read with a passion,
and the reality I looked at... There are often several stories in a single painting...
shadows cast on the ground become characters in their own right'
Featured in the Financial Times in January and identified as ‘one to watch’ at this
year’s London Art Fair, Marie Elisabeth Merlin’s (b.1968) debut London solo show
‘Mondes Hypothétiques’ is hotly anticipated. TIN MAN ART is delighted to present
this set of new paintings by the French artist, which explores human and animal
migration and the power of nature.
Drawing inspiration from the New Figuration movement, she has rigorously stuck to
figurative painting for 30 years, working in opposition to the fashionable conceptual
tastes of her formative years as an artist. She remembers being called ‘old
fashioned’ and was told there would be no future for her style, but she persevered.
Emerging from under the radar to new critical acclaim in the international scene, her
work is in the collections of Paul Ricard and Charles Saatchi. In a market now
seemingly fixated on figuration, Merlin stands out with an imaginative edge that
reminds us that there is more to art than aesthetic escape.
Her paintings contain joy with bite. They contain powerful beauty and invoke her own
resilience and independent and witty mind. Wolves, symbolic of womanhood, family,
pack mentality and survival instincts, commonly feature, as do indolent monkeys.
Another theme is displacement and environmental transformation; human pleasure-
seekers in search of unconscious comfort find themselves lost in worlds overtaken
by tropical plants and displaced animals; apes run riot in west London; dens of vice
are transformed into riotous canine caves. Merlin’s work does not shy away from the
damage we’ve inflicted on nature but offers hope in the face of chaos.