Castlefield Gallery Associates Spotlight: John Merrill

Posted on 16 May 2024

This month we have asked John Merrill to contribute to our Castlefield Gallery Associates Spotlight series, in which current Castlefield Gallery Associates share their thoughts on what the programme offers and how it has been useful for them.

Can you tell us a little bit about your practice?

As a rather late entry into the art world, I try to make the most from my limited talents. So, I rely on my skills from photography and my profession which was psychiatry. I see myself as an artist that uses photography rather than as a photographer. I am particularly interested in how we see, something that artists are not taught about. What we see is primarily constructed by our brains and when we look at faces fail to see what is really there. Thus, we perceive in a portrait what isn’t there – depth, personality and character whilst overlooking what is there – surface. 

How did you hear about Castlefield Gallery Associates and why did you want to join?

Post retirement I went from foundation through to MA at Manchester School of Art. Astonishingly, I was the only student on my course to attend an optional event at Castlefield to hear about the gallery and what artist support was available through the Associates. I have been an Associate ever since. Castlefield Gallery Associates fills the void in support, encouragement, stimulation that every wannabe artist experiences from the moment they leave art school.

What are you looking forward to most about your coming year’s membership?

I was fortunate to be chosen for the last group of bOlder, a Castlefield initiative to help older artists further their careers. I hope to use the knowledge gained from bOlder, Associates meetings and  Associates mailshots listing opportunities to get my work exhibited more widely.