Garvey— 30 Years, A Photographic Portrait



D.W. Mellor

January 26 - March 10, 2012

Garvey is best described as someone who has achieved a state of grace arrived at by a sober, modest, inherent sense of life. He is unstudied, inevitably looking rich in texture and rough in a tactile way... unafraid of being who he is, surprisingly honest...

Rick Wester Fine Art, Inc. is pleased to present D.W. Mellor: Garvey — 30 Years, A Photographic Portrait, an exhibition selected from thirty years of dedication to one subject. The series focuses on a prolonged project of photographing a man who, at first, was a stranger but eventually evolved into a muse and friend. Garvey — 30 Years embodies the tradition of the extended portrait in photography, as practiced by Alfred Stieglitz; Harry Callahan; Emmet Gowin Robert Mapplethorpe. All have served as highly respected influences on Mellor's approach to photographing Garvey.

Mellor first encountered Tom Garvey in 1976 while on a commercial assignment in Valley Forge, PA. Mellor was immediately struck with the urge to photograph this unique character when Garvey passed by on an old Harley motorcycle. Thus began their relationship and the resulting ritual of annual portrait sessions in and near Garvey's home in South Philadelphia. Garvey had been a technical inspector at Boeing Aircraft and could afford a much more lavish lifestyle than the one he chose but it was his unexpected graceful and modest personality, in contrast to his gruff appearance, that made him an attractive subject for Mellor's lens. As a subject, Garvey displayed remarkable range emotionally and physically. Whether clad in costumes of his own design, nude, posed indoors or out Tom Garvey personifies the American iconoclast rebel living beyond but acutely aware of the mainstream. He is a Tom Waits ballad, wrapped in a parachute, seemingly ageless with his shock of white hair and grizzled beard.

D.W. Mellor, originally from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, has been working as a photographer since the early 1970s. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. In addition to his work as a fine artist, he has held positions as a professor of photography at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and as the Director of the Photography Gallery in Philadelphia.

This exhibition will feature 30 photographs selected from the large body of work including "No Stealing," Mellor's first 8 x 10 negative shot in 1976.

All works © D.W. Mellor.