Betty Merken

Seattle, Washington, USA

My paintings and my monotypes offer multiple paths into territory made familiar through modernist geometry, building on my affinities with the work of American artists such as Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, and Mark Rothko. Formally my work is about structure, proportion, color, and scale. Like many contemporary American artists I also utilize the grid first pioneered by the Russian Constructivists and Mondrian, literally building my work up architecturally and giving it an innate sense of order.

Simultaneously there is often a vigorous painterly impulse at work, which builds on the freedom of the American Abstract Expressionists. Although the physical construction of my work is architectural, my paintings and my monotypes are not based on a preconceived or analytical system, but are intuitively made as one color calls up another and is measured against another. More importantly, I am committed to the spiritual endeavor of painting, of coaxing poetry from paint. I am drawn to the tension inherent in the interplay between formal structure and the richness of expression possible with paint and to the sense of mystery that all great paintings provide.

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