Landscape is an enduring theme in British art. In this digital age it seems right to create digital images that look again at what surrounds us and re-interprets it. The term landscape should also be redefined. I refer to landscape as the visual stage in which we spend our lives. This might include news images as much as it might also be a response to a physical landscape. Artists have been experimenting with new media as far back as our recorded understandings take us. I see working digitally as a continuation of this. Working digitally has gradually developed as an extension of my drawing. I always found it frustrating after a finishing a work that I had used a particular color or added a particular element because it was difficult to go back and remove that area. I can now make 10 to15 variations of what is essentially the same picture, saving different versions as I go and then go back and select the best. Recently I have found myself working with purely abstract forms and only late in the process does any sense of realistic depiction enter the work. The work Purple Rain started as a page of straight lines. In this modern era humans are bombarded by an unprecedented number of different images and these transmitted televisual landscapes also form a part of my inner landscape of imagery. I see art as primarily an internal psychological process - a personal response to a particular environment. I happily admit that the events of history and mythic ideas form a part of the inner landscape I represent. In essence my work is an artist's response to living in the north of England along with mass media in the 21st century. It is about both the landscape I originate from, the history, cultural and tradition of its people but in this age of ever increasing globalization. It also about the influence of the wider world that surrounds us.The extraordinary contrasting landscapes of the north of England have always interested me. We have both wild rugged upland areas and vast conurbations. Although I really hadn't consciously considered it until recently, my work falls into the established northern English tradition of urban landscape artists like L.S. Lowry and Theo Major. http://www.andy-mercer.co.uk
I want my art to work with issues and forms I see all around me here on earth, and which I also see in artifacts, images, mathematics and theory that we create as we concern ourselves with distant dimensions and times of the universe. These concerns are vital to our lives and important for both our science and art. Yet my methods are those of art, not those of science. Yet these art methods are as important to us as are our science methods.
I have been photographing the natural world for over forty years. Beginning with travel photography, I have focused more and more on the landscape and the underwaterscape for my inspiration. An avid SCUBA diver since 1979, I began underwater photography in 1991. I find that nature is far more creative and surprising than are humans, and the beauty and complexity of nature is unsurpassed. I look for nature’s myriad colors, textures and complex patterns, especially in those moments that are fleeting and never to be repeated. While underwater photography has been a major focus for the past fifteen years, since moving to San Diego in 2002 I have frequently walked our local beaches to capture the remarkable colors and compositions presented by our sand, sea foam and cobbles. Recently, I have begun to create photographic montages by combining multiple images using a variety of digital operations, yielding images that could not have been created with traditional photographic processes.
I approach the computer and PhotoShop as a painter and printmaker. The image I call Asian Marks began as an etching. I have an edition of hand-pulled prints on handmade paper from the etching plate. The plate was then placed on my scanner and I began the transformation form etching to digital image. I used black ink on tan paper for the hand-pulled prints so there is little resemblance between that edition and the digital work. In Asian Marks #6, I have scanned in transformed photographs, and this led me in a whole new direction and gave birth to Color, Space, Lines, Lichen; Red Lichen; Line Play; Lichen, Sky, Lines; Composition with Lines, Sky, Lichen; Lichen Hidden in the Shadows and then to Lines, Leaves, Lichen. One can not see much of the leaves in this final image, but Lines, Leaves, Lichen led me to an entirely new series based on Ginko Leaves, that while transformed, are completely recognizable, but that is for another time. The computer allows me to move freely from abstraction to representation and back. The distinction between painting and photography is disappearing as we create digital images that portray objects that do not exist. Medford, New Jersey 2007