MARK MCKNIGHT: "... IF WATER FORGETS HOW TO PLAY MIRROR"
February 24 - April 1, 2018
to play mirror”
- Jeremy Sigler
For Queens' third exhibition, Mark McKnight offers a selection of artworks that reflect his ongoing engagement with the craft and materials of “traditional” black and white photography. Through careful use of the fundamental tools of his medium—framing, composition, use of light and shadow—he produces an embellished reality through bleak, darkly printed photographs that foreground his subjective, existential, and poetic concerns.
In his first exhibition in two years, the artist conflates desire, self reflection, and what he jokingly refers to as a “pathological empathy for inanimate objects.” Through posture and quality of print, the identities and information to which we are typically entitled by photography are deliberately obscured. The men pictured are at once archetypal, even heroic in nature's grandeur while simultaneously appearing anonymous or even abject. In the artist's corporeal world, a ripped bag is registered as a soft body. Emerging gravel uncannily resembles animal entrails. In “Seeds,” an otherwise straightforward photograph, significance is accrued by the photograph's title - it invokes the poem from which the show's title is derived (“If I never see my seminal seed..”) and by proxy, the erotic body.
Everything is on the precipice of becoming – pushed together, pulled apart, into, out of. In some photographs this is incidental, a confluence of falling light and shadow. In others, it is the deliberate byproduct of the author's intervention in camera or darkroom. Brick walls and bodies are treated similarly - fragmented, fractured, absorbed by shadows so black that they frequently transcend their appearance as voids only to materialize as photographic surfaces in and of themselves. Are these depictions of entropy or liberation? The artist would suggest that they are two sides of the same coin.
Artist Nikki Darling will guest author an original essay, “Shadow Boxing Mark McKnight,” to accompany the exhibition. Full Text
Mark McKnight (b. Valencia, California, 1984) is an artist based in Los Angeles whose work has been exhibited and published throughout the United States and in Europe.
Most recently, he was an artist in residence at Shandaken, Storm King Art Center, NY. In 2017, he published NOUNS, a book of photographs that was released at the LA Art Book Fair. His work was exhibited at Park View, Los Angeles, 2017; BBQLA, Los Angeles, 2017; Human Resources, Los Angeles, 2017 and Arturo Bandini, Los Angeles, 2017. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, 2015; and Strongroom, Los Angeles, 2015. Previously his work has been included in exhibitions at OPEN HOUSE, Los Angeles, 2016; The Pit, Glendale, 2016; M+B, Los Angeles, 2015; Christophe Guye, Zurich, 2015; Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, 2013; Riverside Art Museum, 2013; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, 2010; San Francisco Arts Commission, 2009; and as part of the New York Photo Festival, 2008, among others. In 2009 he traveled to Finland on a Fulbright Scholarship. He earned his BFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2007, and his MFA at UC Riverside in 2015.
The artist would like to extend his thanks to Shandaken and Storm
King Art Center, New York for their support of this project. In
addition, Mark would like to thank Jeremy Sigler for his generous loan
of “If,” a 2014 poem from which the show's title is culled.