Michael Dweck 1957 —


Michael Dweck's first major photographic work was published in volume form as The End: Montauk, N.Y., in 2004, and was featured in several exhibitions and art fairs that year. The work portrays the old fishing community of Montauk and its surfing subculture. It is an evocation of a real-world paradise lost: the paradise of summer, youth, and erotic possibility, and of community and camaraderie in a perfect setting. Blending nostalgia, fantasy, and documentation the photographs present a compelling portrait of a place in time and a way of life at once fading and being reinvented.

In his follow-up to that success, last summer (June 2008) Dweck returned 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 accompanying book celebrate the modern mermaid, as represented by beautiful young women who appear very much at home in the water. Some of Dweck's subjects come from Aripeka, an island fishing village on the gulf coast of Florida, and have spent much of their lives in and around the water and are capable of holding their breaths underwater for as long as five to six minutes. Photographed in Montauk and Amagansett, but mostly in the vicinity of the Weeki Wachee River in Florida, Dweck's new work, while often abstracting the female body in a painterly swirl of watery refractions, celebrates 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. The mermaids project 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 in France. 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.


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View synoptic biography below.



1957 Born Brooklyn, New York, to David and Sydelle Dweck.
1960 Family moves to Bellmore, New York, a town on Long Island.
1975 Graduates from John F. Kennedy High School, Bellmore, New York. Studies Architecture at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, then switched to the Communication/Fine Arts Department in 1976.
1979 B.F.A., Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.
1982 Opens Michael Dweck & Co., a communications think tank.
1985 Studies with Marshall Blonsky at The New School for Social Research, New York.
1992 Opens Dweck & Campbell, later renamed Dweck! (1999), an advertising and creative content company.
1998 Awarded Gold Lion at the Cannes International Festival for Arctic Ground Squirrel, Cannes, France.
1999 Selected best TV Commercial of The Year, Adweek and Communication Arts magazine. Awarded Agency of the Year by the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
2000 Received the AICP Award for Advertising Excellence. Work added to the permanent film collection of the Department of Film, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Selected to Adweek's Creative All-Stars.
2001 Interviewed in Comedy in Advertising, a documentary on the subject of humor in advertising.
2002 Closed his company and leaves advertising to concentrate on photography full time.
Photographs The End: Montauk, N.Y., for his first exhibition and book.
2003 First one-man exhibition at Sotheby's, New York: The End: Montauk, N.Y. It was the first ever solo show for a living artist held at the auction house.
2004 The End: Montauk, N.Y., is published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., and sells out first printing in two weeks.
2005 Begins photographing his Three project, a series of triptychs composed of images of manmade and natural forms and the human body.
2006 Begins extensive photographing for his Mermaids project.
2008 Mermaids and Mermaids Collector's Edition is published by Ditch Plains Press, a collection of photographs exploring the theme of the female nude submerged in water.
Lives and works in New York and Montauk.
Michael Dweck artnet Artist Works Catalogue


2010 - 2011 "Michael Dweck: Giant Pin-Up Polaroids," Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery. Knokke, Belgium (solo)
2010 "American Mermaid," Acte 2 Galerie, Paris, France, in collaboration with Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery (solo)
2010 "Michael Dweck: Paradise Lost," MODERNISM, San Francisco, California (solo)
2010 "The Big Picture," Staley-Wise Gallery. New York, New York
2009 "Mermaids," Gallery Orchard, Nagoya, Japan (solo)
2008 "Mermaids," Delphine Pastor Gallery, Monaco in collaboration with Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery, Monaco (solo)
2008 "Michael Dweck: Mermaids, The End, and Flowers," Keszler Gallery, Southampton, New York (solo)
2008 "Mermaids," Blitz, Tokyo (solo)
2008 "Michael Dweck," Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery, Knokke, Belgium (solo)
2008 "Mermaids," Staley Wise Gallery, New York (solo)
2008 "Mermaids," Robert Morat | Galerie, Hamburg (solo)
2006 "The End: Montauk, N.Y.," Blitz, Tokyo (solo)
2006 "The End: Montauk, N.Y.," Gallery Orchard, Nagoya Tokyo (solo)
2005 Theory, Tokyo (solo)
2005 "Three," Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2003 "The End: Montauk, NY," Sotheby's, New York (solo)


2008 "Mermaids," Ditch Plains Press. New York, New York.
2005 "Three," Limited edition black and white exhibition catalogue. Aoyama. Tokyo, Japan.
2004 "The End: Montauk, NY," Harry N. Abrams. New York, New York.

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