Artist Brian Merriam Finds Solace in the Alaskan Landscape

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© Brian Merriam, Courtesy of Tappan

In his latest photo series, presented by LA-based art collective Tappan, themes of absence and presence come together in nature to therapeutic effect

Bound by a search for creativity and authenticity, AnOther has partnered with LA-based art collective Tappan, an initiative that was born out of a desire to reinvent the experience of buying art, to share stories about its artists.

The work of photographic artist Brian Merriam documents the forgotten corners, empty roads and nowhere places of America and beyond. In turn, the theme of discovery is a continuous thread throughout his practice, absence and presence manifesting through his attempt to document the self reflected in an empty landscape. “I think a lot of what I try to do with the perspective in my work is disorienting in a way, but it’s un-purposed to create this disorientation. It’s sort of an outward manifestation of an inward feeling; an attempt to see in a landscape what you feel in yourself,” explains Merriam.

When setting out to document his latest series, which focuses on the misty terrain of the Alaskan mountains, a profound life event dictated the way in which the artist connected with the work. During the week of his trip, he received a devastating phonecall relaying the news that his father had taken his own life. But Merriam, although the loss was indeed heavy, found solace in the overwhelming scale of the environment he was documenting. “It was therapeutic in a way to feel that insignificant, standing on a glacier operating on a completely different time scale to human life,” says the artist.

“When I’m in that situation, in my head I just scale out: that glacier is, compared to me, a part of time, a memorial that’s even a fraction of time, of the planet, of the solar system and the universe. To be dwarfed by something so massive and powerful on a completely different scale to yourself, at a time like that in particular, it puts in perspective your experience and resets it.” The work from the Alaska series will end up as a part of a larger series that Merriam is currently working on, the project manifesting as the most ambitious he has attempted to date; fitting for such a profound moment in his personal life. “Stay tuned,” he forewarns. And so we will.

For more information on Brian Merriam, and to buy his works, visit Tappan.