"In my fabric collages, I distill a place to its essence, and to this end each piece of fabric is carefully selected to make an individual contribution. Although my landscapes are recognizable as real places, I approach the various elements as abstract forms. Rocks, hills, and branches - these serve as supporting actors, but the real stars are light and movement. Light creates shadows and reveals forms. The arrangement of these forms leads viewers through the image and creates movement. Rocks above the water disappear at the water line. The landscape is separated into river and shore. Caught between these two worlds, one above the water and one below, is the world of reflections. Sometimes the light is just right, and we can see all three worlds at once. That is the moment that I strive to capture in my work."
Merle Axelrad's fabric collages are in numerous public, corporate, and private collections including those of the Ritz-Carlton, Kaiser Permanente, the University of California at Davis Medical Center, and the California Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, her work has been featured in exhibitions at museums and galleries, including the Dennos Art Museum in Traverse City, Michigan; the California State Museum in Sacramento; and Entrée Libre in New York City.