Imagined Dallas Landscapes in Leigh Merrill's "North Texas Strip"

The images in Leigh Merrill's "North Texas Strip" look at once blighted and serene, like photos taken ten minutes after the Apocalypse. Merrill took thousands of photographs featuring buildings and streetscapes in the metroplex, then digitally assembled and reassembled them to make new images of unreal places.

Some of the resulting scenes, like the blank strip malls with their colors cranked up to a bleached, unreal sheen, look almost plausible, while others, like a Jeep surfing on top of ocean waves while seemingly bursting from the corner of a high-rise building, do not.

Merrill's photographs are featured this week in Places, an "online journal of architecture, landscape, and urbanism."

"Each image is typically made from tens to hundreds of bits and pieces of different photographs," she says. "Some depict imaginary places. Some act more like visual hyperbole -- or a tall tale."

For area residents, it's fascinating to look at this reformed landscape to see what's moved or out of place. In the artist's statement on her website, Merrill says her work reflects her preoccupations with "beauty, class, romanticism, and perfection." By taking things out of their context, maybe it's easier to see what's really there.

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