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Cisco Merel's Panamanian Designs

Words:

Edd Norval
September 24, 2018

Artist Cisco Merel uses typography and geometric forms to inform his unique genre-defying pieces that sit comfortably between sculpture, painting and children's toys.

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You know the ones? The coloured wires attached to a wooden board where the goal is to move shaped wooden pieces from one side to the other - around curves and over loops. They're always in waiting rooms to keep children occupied. Only, they don't just keep people busy, they're a unique object of abstract fascination. Their simplicity of design, yet tangibly functionality, helps Cisco Merel create his fun-loving interventions that have an eye for primary colours and with a nod to these toys.


Through his creation of a visual language that works in both two and three dimensions, Merel has created a versatile vocabulary that is supple enough to proactively engage while simultaneously maintaining his trademark style and progressing his artistic signature.

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His bright outlook may be a result of his tropical upbringing in Panama, a vibrant country with both a historical and contemporary debt to pay to colourful art. Street art and graffiti helped give him a foot up into the art world, where he now inhabits a space that is closer to abstract minimalism than the styles we would be inclined to associate with urban art.


The raw simplicity and optimism that shines from his paintings are mini transportation devices, a little slice of Central American life - one we can all sit back and enjoy. They don't just want us to look, but to touch and to feel. They're a kinetic invitation to live a part of his life and experiences.


Merel seems to be deeply intrigued by the idea of movement. Many artists are, but not in this way. His style is specific - it's childlike in its naivety, able to inspire awe. They make us feel like a young child, yet unlike children, we are more aware of our being and our existence. A young person may engage with these devices in a secondary manner, allowing themselves to be guided more by instinct than thought - we are instead guided by our own conscious desires to learn. It's this gift, not one of discovery, but of re-discovery, that makes his work something we should keep an eye on. Following his journey forward is our reminder to remember our journey up until this very moment in time.

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