NOW PRESENTING: Christine Merchent’s October Showcase – “Ghost in the Machine”

NOW PRESENTING: Christine Merchent’s October Showcase – “Ghost in the Machine”

Ghost in the Machine

Alive only at night time

How did I not know

haiku by Christine Merchent

Christine Merchent returns to Nickel Plate Arts this October to provoke our minds and delight our senses once again in the Stephenson House gallery. “Ghost in the Machine,” her latest collection, explores the concept of Ex Machina, an ancient Greek phrase meaning  “god in the machine.” 

Merchent plays upon this expansive theme, which can often be found at the root of science fiction plots. She asks, “When will artificial intelligence become sentient?” As AI continues to push the boundaries of what humans conceive as possible, we begin to see the machines we use everyday in an entirely new light. For this special exhibition, Merchent shares her take on this theme through her artistic lens.

“Spiritualists encourage you to thank your machines and talk to them the way you would a pet or plant. As I worked on this project, the machines showed me their true selves. In the mundane everyday world, they simply function as designed. At night, when all the lights are off, and the machine is lit solely with its own light or a tiny bit of artificial light, it has a new and previously unseen beauty.” 

Taking the audience on unexpected and thought-provoking journeys is quickly becoming an artistic calling card for Merchent. She made waves as an emerging talent in 2017, with the celebrated “Ballerinas on the Green” exhibit at Purgatory Golf Club. Here, Merchent combined two of her life’s passions, ballet and golf, juxtaposing the pristine, athletic grace of ballet dancers against the lush tranquility of a golf course and muscular male golfers. The result was a stunning collection that helped to earn Merchent the distinction of Nickel Plate’s “Artist of the Year” for 2017. 

Merchent followed up her early success with Nickel Plate Artist Showcases in both 2017 and 2018. Her May 2018 showcase featured “Ballerinas” plus pieces from two new collections, “Fleur” and “Virtual Worlds.” Next, she made  another big splash on the local scene with “Noblesville Mosaic,” an extraordinary piece through which she challenged us to appreciate our local world from a fresh perspective. For “Noblesville Mosaic”, Merchent blended the iconography and historical reverence of the Noblesville Courthouse with all the things she loves best about this town (including Nickel Plate Arts!). The piece inspired a comprehensive, dynamic and delightful collection. “Truly Seeing the Courthouse” made its debut as HCAA’s featured exhibit  in the NobleMade gift shop in May 2019. 

So, what’s the secret to Christine’s success? After the sudden and tragic loss of her mentor, photographer Pamela Mougin, in 2013, Merchent found her path to healing through learning, growing, and expanding her artistic horizons.

“I chose to continue my art and use the lessons [Pamela] taught me as my base. I also wanted to learn from her tragic end. I needed to heal in many ways I didn’t even know I needed healing. I joined professional photography organizations, found new mentors, and eventually entered the Academy of Art University in San Franscisco, where I am pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in photography.”

For more on Christine Merchent, visit christinemerchentart.com

Casey Kenley
casey@caseykenley.com