Artist Spotlight: Fred Merle


Frederic Merle was born in Paris, France, in 1971 and was subsequently raised in Miami Beach, FL. Merle received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Florida International  University in 1997 and a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University in 2001. Working as a professional in architecture, he also had the opportunity to teach design studio and drawing courses at Columbia  University, Florida International University and Broward College. 

Merle has been working on his art periodically throughout his life. Merle's mother is an artist and he spent his childhood surrounded by art and watching her process.  A creative awareness and his interest in art were prevalent at a young age.

How Merle works is very much imbued in a time-based process. Merle hopes that his work evokes a feeling of spontaneity, a process of layering lines with varying levels of intensity so that the viewer has the impression that the work is in continual flux.  The artists’ work gravitates towards the style of abstract expressionism. His interest in this genre of art is mainly influenced by the emphasis on action. Being interested in the transposition/mapping of a subject through a series of brushstrokes that reads as a series of movements and transformations.  

Merle’s work has developed throughout the years and has progressed in a systematic way. His earlier paintings were more figurative and gestural, which eventually transgressed into an abstract way of thinking. He began to focus more on the materiality of the paint and developed methods of transposing the medium onto a canvas. Utilizing plaster gauze as well as everyday industrial objects as vehicles to apply acrylics to a surface. The focus was more on the natural outcome of a composition rather than a premeditated one. Despite having dropped these methods of paint application for more normal ones, the desire to produce art with a natural outcome remains constant in Merle’s current work.  

The influence and inspiration in his work stems from Merle’s background in architecture, both academically and professionally. Merle’s work seeks to merge his background in architecture and art. His academic experience was more focused on a constant pursuit of discovery through design experimentation. While architectural practice is more about being pragmatic, functional and technical when approaching a design problem, Merle’s artwork attempts to transcend the pragmatism of practice by allowing himself to experiment and develop ideas more fluidly with paint as his medium. 

Another driving force of Merle’s world comes from the observation of natural and man-made systems, and how he can extract and translate their logic in creative ways. Discovering and developing something new and finding relationships and organizing them into abstract expressions that overlap, bifurcate and merge into dynamic compositions is what motivates Merle to paint and create. 

Some of Merles exhibitions include: (2000) South Art, Under the patronage of the Consul General of France Monsieur Philippe Chatignoux, In collaboration with L’Alliance Française  de Miami and L’Alliance Francaise de Fort Lauderdale ‘french untitled’ (2002) South Art, Portobello Restaurant, Miami ‘Squares’.