We live in a world where change has become the norm. Not only has the world been globalised in a matter of a few decades, technological innovations make the unthinkable possible. Humanity has subsequently transformed dramatically.
In contrast, Merel Ellen's father lived in a world where certain expectations about the future were normal. You studied to get a nice job, you worked hard to become successful and you saved money to enjoy life after a certain age. "At that time, life was not predictable from day to day, but you knew what you were, where you belonged, how things were supposed to be and what was expected of you," says the Amsterdam-based artist. "The future was not certain but you lived with the expectations of things to come: graduating, finding a partner, working and getting a promotion, having children, and so on. We have lost these assurances about the future."
This forms the basis of Merel's latest series of paintings, which takes a closer look at how today's world affects us all. With a background in neuropsychology, it's easy to see why Merel's subject matter focuses on humans. "I take my own emotional development as a starting point to ask questions about human relations, fears, growth and the subconscious," she adds. "My characters are often placed in slightly uncomfortable landscapes or settings."
You could say that Merel Ellen shows what lives in all of us, what crawls and gnaws. She reveals the monsters that haunt us. She shows us that we too must face them to remain human in today’s new world. Discover more at merelellen.com.