Merryn Trevethan

Ruin Nation

16 August — 15 September 2018
Opening: Thursday, 16 August, 6:00 — 8:00 pm
Artist talk: Saturday, 18 August, 5:00 — 6:00 pm

Fox Galleries is proud to present Ruin Nation by Singapore based artist Merryn Trevethan. Collapsing space and intensifying colour, Trevethan’s urban landscapes delineate the impact of technologies on perception.

In Ruin Nation horizons vanish behind implausible structures that tower into the sky as monuments to nothing. Countless windows seem to manifest both the aspirational vision of the megacity while evoking the constant surveillance of the panopticon.

Referencing the dystopian environments of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell and Fifth Element, and channeling imagery evoked by George Orwell and Haruki Murakami, these works reflect the experiences of life in increasingly globalised cities dominated by the digital and flooded with information. They capture our collective mental and emotional disorientation at a time when a constant state of flux is the new status quo.

These works reflect a reality shaped by the unwavering flatness of screens, by the endlessness of feedback loops and the manifest insanity of provable falsehoods, a world where propaganda machines have been replaced by fake news. Where we are willingly complicit in a global siege mentality generated by a world of unstoppable news feeds, instant messaging and live stream everything. A world of filter bubbles and constant surveillance. A world seemingly governed by algorithms, a dizzying pace of instantaneous transactions and unfathomable amounts of data. A world in which our real world selves have collapsed in the digital; where nothing is certain and our field of vision is forever shrinking. Where nothing is seen in isolation. Everything is relational and we are never offline.

Here the city is envisioned in all its labyrinthine perplexity, revealing the complex social, economic and environmental implications each embodies. Using titles that reference Italo Calvino’s 1972 Invisible Cities, Trevethan invites us to relate to and be critical of our own surroundings by immersing us in speculative cities just beyond our own realities.

Installation shot photo credit: Tim Gresham


Read John McDonald’s feature of Ruin Nation in the Good Weekend

Read the Art Guide preview of Ruin Nation by Barnaby Smith


Ruin Nation featured in Trouble Magazine’s August Salon


2005 Masters of Fine Arts (By Research) Monash University, VIC AU
2002 Bachelor of Fine Arts-Painting, Honours (1st Class) Monash University
1997 Bachelor of Fine Arts-Painting Monash University, VIC AU



2018 Artist in Residence at Sam and Adele Golden Foundation of the Arts Residency Program
2018 NPE Art Residency Program, Singapore
2016 Facebook Singapore, Partner Centre Murals, Singapore
2015 Facebook Artist in Residence Program, Wall Painting Summer Commission, Singapore
2015 DRIVE – Open Call Public Art Prize – 1st Prize WINNER, Singapore
2015 Artist in Residence, ART WEEK, GEMS World Academy, Singapore
2013 NAVA Australian Artists Grant
2012 Footscray on the Edge – Public Art Collaborations with Kendal Henry, Melbourne
2011 Point B Worklodge Artist in Residence, Williamsburg, New York
2011 Public Art Commission- Transit Gallery, The Substation, Melbourne



Stillscapes, NPE Gallery, Singapore
Abstraction Twenty Eighteen, Five Walls Projects, Melbourne
Wyndham Art Prize 2018, Wyndham Art Gallery, Werribee, VIC

Apertures, Yeo Workshop, Gillman Barracks, Singapore
Provable Falsehoods (solo), Fox Galleries, Melbourne

The Party’s Over… (solo), Atrium Gallery, Australian High Commission, Singapore
Of Colour and Light- Victorian Abstraction, Yarra Sculpture Gallery, Melbourne

A Permanent State of Flux… (solo), Trocadero Artspace, Melbourne
DRIVE –  Public Art Festival, Gillman Barracks, SINGAPORE

can’t get here from there… (solo), Articulate Projectspace, Sydney

Thanks for the downgrade… (You should all be fired!) (solo), Fehily Contemporary, Melbourne