Through her canvases Mischa Merz plays the fine line between intimacy and distance, guilt and innocence, the watcher and the watched. These polarities are increasingly becoming a part of a contemporary culture that tends to shun the nuances of daily life and fixate on extremes. Merz’s paintings trigger questions around these opposing forces, inviting the viewer to wonder about how events might be linked. The audience is left to make their own connections between the images and extrapolate possible narratives from them.
Michael Staniak continues on the line between the watcher and the watched. Our environment is inundated with data from many media sources, fulfilling society’s need for information. Seemingly, the media dominates the way we think and the way in which we live. However, our demands of the media also control what we ingest. It is easy to get caught up in this cycle, forgetting that the information we receive should not always be taken as truth. Staniak questions the source of the images that filter through to our television sets and shiny magazines.
Mischa Merz has worked as a writer and journalist since the early 1980s for The Age,Sunday Age and Herald Sun. She has published fiction and non-fiction including a book on her experiences as an amateur boxer, titled Bruising – a journey through gender, which was published in 2000 by Picador and shortlisted for the Dobbie award. She resumed her interest in visual art and is currently completing a BFA in painting at the Victorian College of the Arts.
Michael Staniak was a professional world ranked tennis player and has returned to his interest in art. He is currently studying painting at the VCA.