Merrilee Hepler

16″x20″; acrylic paint, photos on paper, on board; 2019

Merrilee Hepler
Highland Park, Illinois, USA


Focusing on moments in time, I use photography in a multi-disciplinary way as the basis of work, most often curating and embedding my own photography in painting, collage, printmaking, and sculpture. Along with my photographs, I utilize paint, papers of varying types, found objects, and pencil and pen drawing on board and paper. Image selection is largely symbolic, and the work is episodic, free of specific depiction. I may paint over or under images to convey a message–an invitation to ponder. For me, a collage-based approach allows emotion and symbols to co-exist. My lines/marks match the story of the moment and will reflect only that each time–the unique narrative.

In demonstrating the experiences and common denominators of life, I strive to share a moment in time that illustrates an emotional storied experience and thereby create a sense of shared community that may reassure or alarm–asking for further consideration and contemplation.


Merrilee Hepler is an artist from Highland Park, Illinois. Her studio practice focuses on biographical aspects of life—circumstantial and influential moments in time–that provide an expanded sense of portraiture. Working many years observing emotional, meaningful moments has honed her ability to see and feel emotion that informs and inspires her creative interests.

Hepler’s multi-disciplinary studio practice combines painting, drawing, collage, and printmaking with subjects in human or animal form. Each work has a narrative “back story” behind it. The experience of learning, fear, loss, and joy are central to her work. Focusing on an expanded view of portraiture, Hepler strives to incorporate the intrinsic and extrinsic connections that influence an individual being’s experience and establish memory.

Hepler’s work has been included in the following juried exhibitions: at the Highland Park Art Center: “Voices & Visions: Standing on the Bridge Between Health and Disease” (2020); “Of Time & Place” (2020); “Nature vs. Nurture” (2022), in the publication Collage in the House, an International Collection for World Collage Day 2022, and at Kolaj Fest New Orleans 2023 as a part of a workshop presentation.


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American Gothic Redux
19″x13″; paper, acrylic paint, ink, on board; 2021
An Engineer Always
16″x20″; photo images, paper, acrylic paint, on board; 2022
Mom at the Window in Covid Times
19″x13″; paper, photo images, gold leaf, on board; 2022
Housing Crisis 2022
24″x18″; paper, photo image, on paper; 2022