With their bold colors and striking sense of composition, Marianna Merler’s paintings make a powerful play for our attention. The artist, who lives in Trento, Italy, says she is not comfortable working in figurative art, but that does not mean her works are divorced from physical reality. Water, vegetation, earth and blood make their impact viscerally felt in her striking images. In fact, the world, in its largest possible sense, is the central focus of many of her canvases. The globe — sometimes rendered just in shades of blue, at other times incorporating greens, yellows and browns — is seen as an object that combines beauty with darkness and violence. Areas of red are often dripped, brushed or splattered across those images, communicating an idea of the world under attack.
Merler has a wide range of techniques at her disposal, from those drips and splatters, to scrawling directly into the paint, to finely rendering the details of a human face. She gives her canvases an energy that is palpable — and compelling.