Gabrielle Mertz is a visual artist and choreographer. Her practice explores spatial, movement, and data structures through the incorporation of light, sound, technology, photography, and other forms. Drawing on her formal training as a dancer and choreographer, Mertz creates installations, images, and site-specific works that expose/reimagine architectural, environmental, and digital spaces. Her work has been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe at the New Museum, American Dance Festival, High Museum of Art, Susquehanna Art Museum, International Dance Festival, Rialto Center for the Performing Arts, Center for Puppetry Arts, and Cultural Center of Krakow, with commissions/awards from the Cultural Olympiad, Netherland-America Foundation, City of Atlanta, Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Georgia Council for the Arts, and Artists Alliance, among others. Her cultural/nonprofit policy work includes The Carter Presidential Center, Arts for AIDS, Obama for America, Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and International Rescue Committee, and she has taught/lectured at New York University, Emory University, American Society for International Law, University of Georgia, Image Film & Video Center, and The Foundation Center, among others.
Double click image for fullscreen, hover for info
The Look of Labor/The Sound of Labor
This group of works uses visual and sound data captured from recent labor protests and unionization movements by workers at cultural institutions and media outlets (including New Museum, MOMA, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Vox, BuzzFeed, The New Yorker). The data is pulled from social media and live streaming protest videos to create a series of works that distill and translate the action into abstracted color, light, and form. The method of extracting and straining the data alters and reconstructs the data with each part of the operation to create an iterative structure and final product that exists somewhere between a photograph and a painting. The specific colors in the works (blue/black/white/red) reflect the recurring dominance of those colors in the labor signage and union logos appearing in the original data.
In relation to my practice, these works are connected to an ongoing body of data- and sound-related work that I have been exploring for a number of years, as well as an upcoming project that focuses on cultural policy, nonprofit sector labor, and philanthropy.