Upcoming Exhibition: Jeff Mermelstein

Jeff Mermelstein
Work Ouevre Opera
May 5 - June 25, 2011


Rick Wester Fine Art is pleased to announce our second exhibition featuring the work of renowned New York street photographer Jeff Mermelstein; and the first to feature his editorial work for the fashion industry. As one would expect from Mermelstein, this group of pictures is hardly based on beauty, society, style or runways but rather, it is part of the photographer's ongoing investigation into the collision of the camera, human behavior and street interaction. Mermelstein, in his inimitable way, creates photographs that simultaneously describe the surface of the world and the intricacies of picture making with a psychological complexity only a New York street-savvy photographer could accomplish.

The photographs on exhibit were taken on assignment for New York Magazine over a six-week period with a significant portfolio of images published in the Spring Fashion Issue (Feb. 21-28, 2011).

Mermelstein has combined commercial, editorial and fine art photography as well as teaching and lecturing for over two decades and is no stranger to the intersection of art and commerce. In this case, his pictures function smoothly in both realms, although the edit offered here reflects the photographer's own idiosyncratic vision.

Mermelstein followed the taste making elite from New York to Paris to Milan, photographing runway shows, behind the scenes and in the streets surrounding the intricate and often ostentatious presentations. Not in the category of paparazzi, he had privileged access to all of fashion's leading figures, from the designers to the models to the audience. In New York he photographed designers' collections from Calvin Klein to Proenza Schouler. The Parisian collections ranged from Chanel to Alexander McQueen and in Milan, from Gucci to Prada.

Here, Mermelstein is on a journey through a world that is often both idealized and criticized. Originally commissioned as editorial work, the images elicit an anthropological response only an outsider interested only in the discovery of rituals and costumes unavailable to others could describe. Mermelstein's attention is focused on the culture surrounding the fashion industry rather than the fashion itself. Despite any familiarity with his subjects, whether it's the avenues of Manhattan, his neighborhood in Brooklyn or backstage at Paris' Grand Palais, Mermelstein is consistently caught in foreign territory, resorting to what he does best, merging an intense streetwise sensibility with all its grittiness, humor, humanity and rough grace with the glossy, cosmetic world of fashion's facade.

The exhibition opens on May 5 and runs through June 25, 2011. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10-6pm, and Saturday, 11-6pm. For further information and images, please contact Tracie Davis at +1 (212) 255-5560 or rwfa@rickwesterfineart.com.