Liam-Mertens,-Colin's-children-slept-out

Liam Mertens

 Colin’s children slept outside, 2019


Acrylic on canvas
190 x 160 cm

£3,600

in aid of Action for Children

50% suggested donation

The title refers to New Zealand painter Colin McCahon, who lived in a small shack in west Auckland. The cavity underneath the house had bunk beds installed where his children would sleep, with no door exposed to all the elements. It made for the perfect place to smoke marijuana as a teenager before they turned it into a museum. This image came out of a memory of the water in Otitori Bay through the trees from those heady teenage years, while the Candy Corn sweet floats in the foreground, an emblem of the pick and mix I would buy from the local corner store.

Liam-Mertens,-Longest-drink-in-Boomytown

Liam Mertens

 Longest drink in Boomytown, 2020


Acrylic on canvas
127 x 153 cm

£3,400

in aid of Action for Children

50% suggested donation

This image is a memory from my childhood. It was a clear summers day and we had just visited water park. I was in the back of our family car with a Boomy ice lolly and a milkshake in the quintessentially New Zealand ‘Longest drink in town’ paper cup.

Liam-Mertens,-We-sleep-in-a-well-made-be

Liam Mertens

 We sleep in a well made bed

(after Blam Blam Blam), 2020
 

Acrylic on canvas
107 x 127 cm

£3,200

in aid of Action for Children

50% suggested donation

The title is taken from ‘There is no depression in New Zealand’ by Blam Blam Blam, a tongue and cheek song commenting on the tourism industry’s idealised projection of New Zealand which is at odds with the socio-economic reality. In this painting I explore these themes through the relationships between objects. The vases represent our anthropological history and the plant our nature and growth.

About the artist:

London based New Zealander Liam Mertens uses his practice to engage in notions of presence and absence, with a specific emphasis on his own connections to his country of birth. 

In his most recent body of works, loaded and personally significant imagery and symbolism are juxtaposed with ambiguity, leaving the viewer with a conundrum. On the surface, the paintings are optimistic, loud and full of joy. However, there is something stopping the viewer from entering. Their atmosphere, while seductive, is alien. The colours are a nod to pop art yet there is nothing direct in their delivery. Instead the message comes through the realisation of their oblique nature. These infinite spaces are obstructed.

For the artist, no one person comes away from a work of art having the same thoughts and feelings; everyone reads a different reality. Mertens also believes his works play with this idea.  Being minimal and ambiguous in their physicality, the works leave room for the viewer to perceive their own reality within each work and from there create conversation around it, thus drawing out many conclusions and questions that Mertens himself may or may not have seen during his own journey with the work.