Frederick Mershimer was born in Sharon Pennsylvania in 1958. Receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Carnegie Mellon University in 1980. After moving to New York in 1982, he further developed his talents in graphics and fine art printmaking through studies at the Parsons School of Design, Pratt Graphic Center and Manhattan Graphic Center.
Frederick Mershimer celebrates the experience of New York through his art. He creates an evocative realism that transports the viewer beyond first appearances to reveal the hidden beauty of the contemporary city. Before moving to New York , Mershimer was exclusively a figurative artist; but his attention was quickly diverted by the power and energy of the city around him. At first glance, his work can be interpreted as bold naturalism. Yet, he skillfully choreographs lighting and detail while altering perspective to draw the viewer's attention to the essence of the piece. Mershimer's mezzotints speak to both the grit and grandeur of the modern American city.
To translate his visions, he has chosen mezzotint, a tonal Medium capable of achieving rich blacks and subtle gradations of grays. This is a painstaking technique, which requires the artist to spend long hours just to prepare the ground on the copper plate before any work on the actual image can begin. This preparatory work is done using a curved serrated blade called a rocker. Although a very technical process, mezzotint allows the artist the most direct means of plate making. It is this approach to the art, along with the rich sensibility of the medium, which rewards the artist for his patience.
His mezzotints are in many private and public collections, including the Corcoran Gallery, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York , The National Museum of American Art/Smithsonian Institution, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Queens Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His works have also been acquired by the Georgetown University Art Collection, Harvard's Fogg Museum , the Library of Congress, and New York Public Library, University of Arizona and the University of New Mexico.
"My images explore the dynamic between the city's architecture, and our place within this imposing environment. Never truly understanding the world and my roll in it, I find a sense of control by creating dramatic settings where events can unfold. I have always enjoyed night because it was a place to escape the expectations of society and to reinvent ones self. Through night scenes, I'm able to capture the city's darker, more mystical and romantic undertones.
Using photographs I have taken of the city for reference, I construct scenes by, eliminating objects or changing the perspective to better draw the viewer into the piece. Weaving together the disparate elements into a seamless quite balance, I manipulate lighting and shadows, fine details, texture and other pictorial elements to conjure a sense of place and reveal the emotional core of my work."