Published March 12. 2022 07:08AM
For Morrell “Mo” Devlin, visual art is a study in the elements that make it stunning.
For more than 50 years, the Tamaqua native has been pushing the design envelope, using photography and videography to discover more about the world around him.
He has explored countless subjects and has been published and exhibited internationally. His work has been seen in National Geographic, on the world’s largest cruise ship, and at the Berlin Opera House.
For the month of March, locals can view and even buy some of his work, particularly his experimentation with frozen flower images, in Jim Thorpe.
Devlin’s photography is on display at Wild Elder Wine & Cider Co., 76 Broadway.
Devlin was introduced to photography in high school. He was one of 13 or so students selected to pioneer a communications arts curriculum in 1972-73, his senior year at Tamaqua Area High School.
He broadened his scope over the next 10 years while serving in the U.S. Army and working in American Forces Radio and Television.
Perhaps his breakthrough artistic moment happened several years ago when he began to experiment with frozen flowers.
“Through trial and error … and a lot of ice and flowers … I’ve been able to develop my freezing method to get a variety of effects.”
It sounds simple. But it’s not.
Devlin, of Dallas, near Wilkes-Barre, uses distilled water or sometimes the reverse osmosis type. He studies how flowers react as they freeze, how bubbles and trailers form, and documents all of it through the lens. He also experiments with infrared photography and high dynamic range.
He then uses computer software, such as computer-generated fractals, to achieve a certain goal with the images.
“I like to push the envelope,” he says.
Today, he has more than 2,500 dazzling works produced through countless hours of innovation and exploration.
For Devlin, art is just as much about discovery as it is creativity.
“As in most things with nature and science, beauty often comes unexpectedly. So I shoot the photo that I want first, the photo that I need next, and finally, I take the photo that I didn’t expect. That last one is usually the best.”
His ultimate goal, he says, is to impact the viewer.
“I hope my art moves you inside. I hope that each and every one sees something different … feels something different.”
For the observer, art is usually an aesthetic experience which arouses emotion – joy, pleasure, sadness, even fear.
Devlin’s works inspire a sense of awe, not only in the finished piece, but in the creative process.
“His work is just beautiful,” said admirer Carl Abrahamson of Scranton, retired news director at WNEP-TV. “I would never even think of doing something like this.”
Another said the setting was perfect.
“This is really something and this is a great setting to do it,” said Joan Tracy Jones of Schuylkill Haven.
Amber Breiner of Wild Elder Wine & Cider Co. said Devlin’s unique work of ice and flowers is the perfect choice for a spring show at her business, which opened in December 2020.
“We’re transitioning to spring right now. This is lovely, beautiful and energetic.”
Breiner said opportunities exist for other artists to showcase and sell their work.
“We’re encouraging artists who are prolific. Doing this event helps to celebrate the artist.”
She can be contacted at [email protected] for more information about Devlin’s work or other upcoming shows.
The unique artistry of Tamaqua native Morrell “Mo” Devlin is available to see and purchase during the month of March at Wild Elder Wine & Cider Co., 76 Broadway, Jim Thorpe. DONALD R. SERFASS/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Discussing the work of photographer Mo Devlin are, from left, Jim Thomas of South Abington Township, Joan Tracy Jones of Schuylkill Haven and Carl Abrahamson of Scranton. DONALD R. SERFASS/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS