Art has the ability to show us what we don’t expect to see – to challenge and remind us of the potential around us.

Leigh Merrill
Associate Professor of Art

  • Faculty
Journalism Room 300
Related Majors
Related Department
Albuquerque, NM
College Major
Studio Art (Photography)
Year Graduated

Leigh Merrill is an American Artist from the American Southwest. She creates digitally collaged photographic and video works that explore our contemporary surroundings and the impact of desire, simulation and perception on the human-made landscape. Leigh's artistic productions have been a part of exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. Leigh's work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas Library Print Study Collection, the City of Phoenix, the California Institute of Integral Studies and various private collections.

A Conversation with Leigh Merrill

What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?

A&M Commerce has a long history of excellence in photography – both as a fine art and commercial practice. One of the things I love about A&M Commerce is the smaller class sizes allowing for one-on-one interactions with our students. Engaging with a students' individual work is critical in helping them achieve their goals. In a creative field, it is important to find one's individual voice. Providing space and time for that is important. That happens at A&M Commerce.

How has A&M-Commerce influenced your life and/or career?

Art has the ability to show us what we don't expect to see – to challenge and remind us of the potential around us. As an artist, I am fascinated with the medium of photography. It is constantly shifting and evolving with new technologies allowing it to be a persistent and powerful part of contemporary culture. As a professor, it is exciting to see my students understanding of the medium deepen as they find their creative voices and professional career paths within art and photography.

Tell us about an academic project you are working on or recently completed.

I create digitally collaged photographic and video works that explore how our contemporary landscapes are forged through personal and cultural expectations and desires. Culling through thousands of individual photographs and videos I make of architecture and landscaping, I digitally assemble these sources to create my work. I use photography as a tool to observe and then digitally combine my photographs together to construct spaces that do not exist, allowing the creation of images that through metaphor and illusion reveal both the desire and simulacrum present around us and within photography itself.

Educational Background

  • MFA, Studio Art, Mills College, 2009
  • BFA, Studio ArtPhotography, University of New Mexico, 2001

Recent Exhibitions and Public Collections

  • Group and Solo exhibitions held at the following:
    • Simulacrum II, The Fries Museum (Netherlands)
    • This Side of Paradise, FotoFest International (Houston, TX)
    • American Martini, Liliana Bloch Gallery (Dallas, TX)
    • This Place, Pictura Gallery (Bloomington, IN)
  • Work is held in the collections of:
    • The Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
    • The University of North Texas Library Print Study Collection, Denton, TX
    • The City of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ

Research Interests

  • Fine Art Photography
  • Contemporary Art Practice
  • Photographic Perception
  • Digitally Manipulated Imagery

Professional Organizations

  • Society of Photographic Education

Featured Courses

Artwork Reviewed/Appearing in Publications

  • Leigh Merrill: The Manner of Desires, Peter S. Briggs, Afterimage Magazine Abstract: Contemporary photographer Leigh Merrill translates the methods and objectives of the New Topographics and the Picture Generation into digitally manipulated landscapes that feature the ­southwestern United States. This survey of Merrill's creative efforts from the last fifteen years focuses on the artist's distinctive contributions to demonstrate the intrinsic distortions of photography as a medium and photography's service in advancing skewed desires of place and places.
  • Photographer Leigh Merrill wants to adjust your focus, Danielle Avram, The Dallas Morning News
  • Theories in Digital Composite Photographs: 12 Artists and Their Work, Focal Press 2019
  • Semi-fictional streetscapes resemble stage sets, Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post
  • Art with the Flavors of Texas, Mark Rinaldi, The New York Times

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