Michael Dweck | Mermaids

Michael Dweck | Mermaids

mermaid 24, weeki wachee by michael dweck

Michael Dweck

Mermaid 24, Weeki Wachee, 2007

mermaid 41, miami by michael dweck

Michael Dweck

Mermaid 41, Miami, 2007

mermaid 1, amagansett, new york by michael dweck

Michael Dweck

Mermaid 1, Amagansett, New York, 2005

Thursday, June 19, 2008Saturday, September 6, 2008

New York, NY USA

Michael Dweck burst onto the photography scene in 2004 with his stunning book The End: Montauk, N.Y. (and related exhibitions) in which he documented the surfing subculture of Montauk, Long Island, evoking a real-world paradise lost.

In his follow-up to that success, this summer (June 2008) Dweck returns with his new project Mermaids. The exhibition and accompanying volume feature a dazzling array of photographs in which the photographer explores the theme of the female nude submerged in water. The simple sexy elegance and allure of these images is breathtaking. As Christopher Sweet writes in his introduction to the book: “Whether diving in the blue refractions of a swimming pool or suspended like a seraph in the cool, pellucid depths of a spring or emerging tentatively onto a rocky shore, Michael Dweck’s mermaids are lovely and aloof and bare of all raiment but for their beautiful manes and the elemental draperies that surround them. Water, light, and lens converge to capture in modern guise the elusive creature of myth.”

The exhibition and book celebrate the modern mermaid, as represented by beautiful young women who appear very much at home in the water. When Dweck went to check out the Weeki Wachee Spring, home of the famous mermaid shows, as a possible location for his mermaids project, he met a local young beauty who had been raised in Aripeka, an island fishing village on the coast nearby, and began photographing her. She had spent all her life in and on the water—the water was her playground. Through the first girl, Dweck met other island girls—so-called “waterbabies”—some of whom could hold their breath underwater for as long as five or six minutes. He photographed them alone, together, and at play, but mostly at night in the depths of the Weeki Wachee River. Dweck also photographed in Montauk, Amagansett, and Miami, and the new images, while often abstracting the female body in a painterly swirl of watery refractions, celebrate the physical charm of the female form and the transformational effect that is achieved by the shedding of clothes and psychic baggage in the meditative isolation of the underwater world.

In Dweck’s first body of work, he drew inspiration from his teenage years spent by the beach on Long Island and captured the vanishing surf culture of Montauk. Mermaids also has its origins in Dweck’s years on Long Island where he often went night fishing along the south shore and off Montauk. Out on the water on moonlit nights he was intrigued by the shadowy shapes of fish passing swiftly by just under the surface, and he imagined those fleeting forms to be beautiful women—the ancient allure of the mermaid.

Michael Dweck was born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, and studied fine arts at the Pratt Institute. From there, Dweck began his career in advertising in which he went on to become a highly regarded Creative Director receiving over 40 international awards, including the coveted Gold Lion at the Cannes International Festival. Two of his long-form television pieces are part of the permanent film collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Having taken up photography at an early age and used photography throughout his career, he left advertising to focus on photography full time.

Dweck’s compelling images have appeared in numerous publications throughout the world, including Vanity Fair, French Vogue, and Esquire. His photographs were first showcased at Sotheby’s, New York, in 2003, in their first solo exhibition for a living photographer, and have been exhibited extensively throughout the world. His work is shown at Staley-Wise Gallery in New York, Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, Eric Franck Fine Art in London, Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery in Belgium, and Robert Morat Galerie in Hamburg. His upcoming solo exhibitions in 2008 will feature the work from Mermaids and will tour galleries throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Michael Dweck lives in New York City.

Published by the Ditch Plains Press, the first edition of Mermaids is limited to 2,000 casebound copies. There is also a signed limited edition of 100 copies, each copy of which is in a matching linen-covered clamshell box and includes a signed color print by the artist. The limited edition is be available only through the photographer’s galleries.