Please join us for an exciting evening launching national artist Richard Merchan for the micro-gallery at HABITATION FURNISHINGS + DESIGN. Complimentary wine will be served 7:00-10:00 P.M.
Merchán was born and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela, a small town centered around a majestic lake rich with oil reserves. While Merchán suggests that he was “not yet an artist” and had “not yet begun to truly observe,” the sense memories of his youth provided a foundation on which he would later draw. Both the beauty (broad horizons, lush palms) and the decay (oil fires on the lake, beaches soaked with spills) would inspire tensions to be reconciled throughout his career.
At age 14, Merchán and his family relocated to Miami, which would prove the gateway to the young artist’s self-discovery. To this day, Merchán considers himself very much an American, steeped in the pop culture of his adopted land though viewed through an immigrant’s lens.
Ripe with ideas, Merchán sought the tools with which to express himself. In 1976, he enrolled in the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Newly educated and eminently marketable, Merchán returned to Miami and began what would become a highly successful career in the worlds of publishing and design. Of far greater significance was Merchán’s artistic development.Like many a young artist, Merchán’s wanderlust and ambition soon brought him to New York City. “New York was my Paris,” Merchán recounts, dazzled and inspired by the stimuli around him. From the polo grounds of Greenwich to the hot dog vendors of Washington Square, Merchán captured it all, exploring new media with abandon.
Restless for new experiences, Merchán moved yet again, this time to northern California, where he has remained (with the occasional detour) for the past three decades. Whether attributable to the locale or span of years, this California period has marked the most fertile, experimental and mature stage of the artist’s career.
Today, the artist divides his time between California’s Sonoma County and Greenwood, Minnesota, revisiting, reimagining, and reworking subjects he has come to know over a lifetime’s work.
“I can’t ever recall being at a loss for ideas or inspiration,” Merchán reflects of late. “A blank canvas is like arriving at a cocktail party filled with strangers. To start painting is like opening a bottle of wine. The conversation flows.”
And the story begins.