Andrea Merrell

Andrea Merrell is a contemplative artist, creating underplayed and reclusive paintings, but yet in their simplicity they are intensely profound. Her paintings explore the rapport between color values and form, configuring an abstract language that “lies beyond words.”  Still, within their quietude, her sensitive works project a subtle humanity and a persistent intelligence that both challenge and reward us.  Working with color values and geometric forms she develops compositions that suggest relationships through the use of empty spaces and the interaction of content.  Her imagery is typically very minimal yet precise, informed by philosophical, mystical and mathematical considerations. 


As a method for distilling the natural world down to its essential forms, Andrea uses mathematics to reduce expressive form down to basic geometric shapes and relationships.  Andrea uses this technique to better understand the mathematical information she has always suspected to be at the root of classic aesthetics.  Her work is a search for the hidden language behind the art, an inquiry into what accounts for art’s appeal and resonance to the eye and the soul, essentially its the timeless universality. 


Despite their metaphysical aspirations, her paintings are filled with a warmth and humanity that is inviting rather than cold and analytical.  Her palette, a range of understated grays, eloquent and beautifully subtle, invites the viewer into the work’s austere serenity.  Her careful gesso underpainting and multi-layering of soft hues build rich, uninflected surfaces that have a luminous presence.  The piece’s calm surfaces and edges combined with her intuitive use of negative space gives her work a meditative quality.




Andrea Merrell (b.1939) was raised in Boise, Idaho, and has traveled and lived throughout the world, including six years creating art in The Gambia, West Africa.  She studied art therapy in the early 1980s in Mexico and later earned a BFA from Boise State University in 1987.  In 1991 Merrell was awarded an Idaho Commission on the Arts fellowship and she had her first show at J Crist Gallery in 1999, where she has exhibited numerous times since.  Her work was recently selected for the 2007 Idaho Triennial juried exhibition at the Boise Art Museum.  Merrell, who lives and works in Boise, is also a Collections Associate at J Crist Gallery.