Seattle artist, Betty Merken’s painterly monotypes carry a simplicity and grace. Formally, her work is about color and structure, yet simultaneously asserting a painterly impulse. These somewhat apposing concerns create a structured sensuality within the work. Her rich use of color is intuitive and considered. Her colors layer the paper with natural pigments; yellow ochre, sienna, burnt red, indigo and umber, which she mixes herself for greater subtlety and effect. Opaque and transparent areas create a luminosity and depth. Some of Merken’s monotypes are over six feet tall and her interest in nature and the timeless forms of architecture give the work massive scale pulling the viewer into a literal space. Her minimalist approach to the composition allows the geometry of space to create a place both allusive and enigmatic.
Betty Merken earned a BA in Arts Education from the University of Washington. She also studied art at the University of California at Los Angeles and completed a residency at Crown Point Press in San Francisco. She has taught extensively in Los Angeles and Seattle and exhibited her work since 1992. Her work is found in many public collections including the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts; the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; The Vivian and Gordon Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, Portland Art Museum, OR; Grunwald Center for Graphic Arts, UCLA; and Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.