About

 

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     “One should not only photography things for what they are but for what else they are.”  ~ Minor White

     “I believe the artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.”  ~ Paul Strand

     “There is, to begin with, his evident compulsion to record what he saw as astonishing light.   ~ Robert Adams, referring to Paul Strand

Biography

Frank Mercado first acquired a camera so he could record the life and times of his young family, but soon he became interested in photography as a form of personal expression as well. Retired after a forty-year career as a software engineer and manager, he now pursues fine art photography full time, having graduated summa cum laude with a BFA from the University of Colorado Denver in the spring of 2016.

Like many who came of age in the 60s and 70s, Mercado’s concept of fine art photography was shaped by the works of the early 20th century Modernists masters of photography.  While appreciative of contemporary artists and art trends, he prefers the trail blazed by the Modernists. His current work focuses on abstract imagery, and explores ideas about extending the tradition of analog black and white abstract photography, as pioneered by Aaron Siskind and Minor White in particular, with today’s digital and color technology. He is most in his element when he is out and about, using his photographer’s eye to find meaning and beauty in the world.

Mercado’s work has been exhibited at Redline Gallery, Emmanuel Gallery, Colorado Photographic Art Center (CPAC), and Spark Gallery in Denver, Colorado, as well as the Darkroom Gallery in Longmont, Colorado.  He also writes about photography, and one of his essays was selected by jury for inclusion in Manifest Gallery’s fourth International Photography Annual (INPHA 4). Mercado now resides in a suburb of Richmond, Virginia.

Artist’s Statement

My idea of fine art photography was formed by the works of the 20th century Modernist masters. I came to realize that there is a common denominator to what most intrigues me about their art: compositions consisting of striking shapes, interesting details, and graceful patterns of light and shadow. Two photographers of that era, Aaron Siskind and Minor White, particularly inform my work because like them I too am interested in investigating how photography, with its compositional powers of focus, framing, tonality control, and compression, can create an abstract image of formal beauty. However, while most Modernists photographed in black and white, I often work in color. I am fascinated by the difference between how the human eye perceives color and how the camera captures it.

Minor White once instructed his students to photograph objects “not only for what they are, but for what else they are.” It is in that spirit that my current work in photography is taken. I look for this beauty in the ordinary objects and scenes all around us, searching for a striking image that may be hiding in plain sight, locked within and camouflaged by an ordinary or even ugly context. Working with a telephoto lens, I get close to my subject as I endeavor to record details unseen by casual human vision, capture shades and colors unnoticed by the eye, block out distracting context, and reveal patterns, forms, and shapes that may be apparent only when three dimensions are compressed into two.

CV

Education

2016        BFA (Emphasis in Photography), University of Colorado Denver – Summa Cum Laude

2014        Study Abroad: (Photography, Optics and Perspective in Italy, and Historic Photographic Processes in Italy), University of Colorado Denver and the Santa Reparata International School of Art, Florence, Italy

1979        MS (EE/CS), Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles

1969        BS (Mathematics), California State University Los Angeles

Honors and Awards

2014        Study Abroad Scholarship, UC Denver College of Arts & Media, Visual Arts Department

1979        Inducted into Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society by the California Omicron Chapter at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

                Collections

2014        A Pilgrimage to the Site of the Sand Creek Massacre (photo-essay), Denver Public Library Western History and Genealogy Department Special Collections, Denver, CO

Exhibition Record

2017        Bon Air Artists Association Group Exhibition, James Center Atrium, Richmond VA

                Bon Air Artists Association Group Exhibition, Crossroads Art Center, Richmond, VA

2016        Architecture. Structure. Form., Juried Group Exhibition, The Darkroom Gallery, Longmont, CO

                Underpass, group BFA thesis exhibition, Redline Gallery and University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO

Spring UC Denver Juried Student Show, Emmanuel Gallery, Denver, CO

16x16x16 Traveling Exhibition, UC Denver Photography Club

2015        Spring UC Denver Juried Student Show, Emmanuel Gallery, Denver, CO

Denver Month of Photography Juried Exhibition, Spark Gallery, Denver CO

Colorado Photographic Arts Center Juried Member’s Show, Special Mention selection, Denver, CO

        16x16x16 Traveling Exhibition, UC Denver Photography Club

2014        UC Denver Annual Study Abroad Exhibition, Marriott Courtyard Gallery, Denver, CO

Colorado Photographic Arts Center Juried Member’s Show, Denver, CO

16x16x16 Traveling Exhibition, UC Denver Photography Club

Spring UC Denver Juried Student Show, Emmanuel Gallery, Denver, CO

2013        Spring UC Denver Juried Student Show, Emmanuel Gallery, Denver, CO

UC Denver Student Art Exhibit, Marriott Courtyard Gallery, Denver, CO

2012        UC Denver Student Art Exhibit, Marriott Courtyard Gallery, Denver, CO

Artist Memberships

Exhibiting Member, Bon Air Artists Association, Richmond, VA

Camera Club of Richmond, Richmond, VA

Colorado Photographic Art Center, Denver, CO

Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO

Publications

2016        Frank Mercado, “On Finders and Makers.” In Manifest International Photography Annual (INPHA 4), Cincinnati, OH, Manifest Press, 2016

2016        Spring 2016 BFA Thesis Exhibition (exhibition catalog). Denver, Colorado: University of Colorado Denver, May 2016. Curators: Visual Arts Faculty

2011         Frank Mercado, “Unifying the World through Color”, Focus Camera Club of Colorado In Focus Newsletter, February 2011, p.2-3

2011         Frank Mercado, “The Moments Before”, Focus Camera Club of Colorado In Focus Newsletter, July 2011, p.2-3

Organizations and Affiliations

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Virginians for the Arts

Center for Fine Art Photography, Ft. Collins, CO

Society for Photographic Education

 

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