Mark W. McKnight

Seeds, 2018
Gelatin silver print
16 x 20 inches

Burned Map (or: Body)
2019
Gelatin silver print
32 x 40 inches

Flesh
2018
Gelatin silver print
11 x 14 inches

…if water forgets how to play mirror
2018
Gelatin silver print
32 x 40 inches

The Black Place I
2019
Gelatin silver print
40 x 50 inches

Bodyfold
2019
Gelatin silver print
20 x 24 inches

Earthskin
2018
Gelatin silver print
16 x 20 inches

Installation View: (L) Earthskin (R) Ballerino
2018
Gelatin silver print
(L) 16 x 20 inches (R) 23 X 27 inches

Ballerino
2018
Gelatin silver prints
23 x 27 inches

Decreation I
2019
Gelatin silver print
16 x 20 inches

Erasure
2019
Gelatin silver print
48 x 60 inches

Carrier II
2019
Gelatin silver print
40 x 50 inches

The Somnabulists
2019
Gelatin silver print
20 x 24 inches

Double Sisyphus (Heaven is a Prison)
2019
Gelatin silver print
48 x 60 inches

Spinning Away
2018
Gelatin silver print
24 x 20 inches

Untitled (Water Swirl)
2018
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches

Untitled
2018
Gelatin silver print
20 x 24 inches

Installation View: (L) Untitled, (R) Untitled, Water Swirl
2018
Gelatin silver print
(L) 8 x 10 inches (R) 20 x 24 inches

Destructive Distillation (Tar Cosmos)
2018
Gelatin silver print
23 x 27 inches

Eros (& Erosion)
2018
Gelatin silver print
23 x 27 inches

Eros (& Erosion)
2018
Gelatin silver print
23 x 27 inches

Destructive Distillation (Tar Cosmos)
2018
Gelatin silver print
23 x 27 inches

Installation View: (L) Untitled, (R) Untitled, Water Swirl
2018
Gelatin silver print
(L) 8 x 10 inches (R) 20 x 24 inches

Untitled
2018
Gelatin silver print
20 x 24 inches

Untitled (Water Swirl)
2018
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches

Spinning Away
2018
Gelatin silver print
24 x 20 inches

Double Sisyphus (Heaven is a Prison)
2019
Gelatin silver print
48 x 60 inches

The Somnabulists
2019
Gelatin silver print
20 x 24 inches

Carrier II
2019
Gelatin silver print
40 x 50 inches

Erasure
2019
Gelatin silver print
48 x 60 inches

Decreation I
2019
Gelatin silver print
16 x 20 inches

Ballerino
2018
Gelatin silver prints
23 x 27 inches

Installation View: (L) Earthskin (R) Ballerino
2018
Gelatin silver print
(L) 16 x 20 inches (R) 23 X 27 inches

Earthskin
2018
Gelatin silver print
16 x 20 inches

Bodyfold
2019
Gelatin silver print
20 x 24 inches

The Black Place I
2019
Gelatin silver print
40 x 50 inches

…if water forgets how to play mirror
2018
Gelatin silver print
32 x 40 inches

Flesh
2018
Gelatin silver print
11 x 14 inches

Burned Map (or: Body)
2019
Gelatin silver print
32 x 40 inches

Seeds, 2018
Gelatin silver print
16 x 20 inches

I was born in Los Angeles to a New Mexican, Hispana-identified mother who struggled with our Southwestern diasporic roots. In turn, I grew up struggling to reconcile my own identity both as a mixed-race, person of color and also as a gay man – particularly one who neither exemplified nor desired the idealized, Euro-centric cultural standard of male beauty that is perpetuated even within gay culture. I was raised in an environment that privileges white, heterosexual masculinity. My work operates as a site of resistance to those values.

Using conventional analog photographic methods, or “straight photography” as it is most commonly and curiously known, I create photographs using a large format view camera of varying subjects and surfaces: queer bodies, found objects, and landscapes.

By over-exposing prints to light in the dark room, I deliberately bury descriptive details and information, those matters of fact that have historically been the prescribed and privileged territory both of “straight photography” and straight photographers. By relinquishing these details, and by producing unconventionally dark prints, I refuse to tell you everything – in this way, the pictures assert the inherent limitations of a medium while foregrounding my subjectivity. Shadows become psychological spaces in which to get lost, project, empathize, speculate, and experience.

My desire to represent my experience and nuanced decisions with regard to content, form, exposure, and print quality inadvertently begin to pose questions about a history in which white, heterosexual, male subjectivity has routinely been established as, “purely descriptive”, “objectively recorded”, and has therefore become an approximation for “truth.” By employing modernist photo strategies to describe a counter set of desires, values, experiences, and uses for photography, I render my own truth and subvert the canon of photographic history as I retroactively insert a narrative that was largely absent from it.

Through careful arrangement, installation and framing I draw poetic, formal and figurative parallels between a multitude of seemingly disparate photographic subjects. Instead, I offer an abstract narrative that transcends the direct, “objective” appearance of any individual image.

The men in my pictures are figures from my queer community. A purposeful obscuring of their identities allows them to function simultaneously as an anonymous archetype and armature for larger concepts of time, loss, desire, vulnerability and entropy. The soft-bodied, ethnically ambiguous, play-acted protagonists in the photographs are both representative of the men I desire but also their bodies resemble my own. In this way, the photographs function as proxies and speak not only to desire and sexuality but also my own identity, body, psyche, and struggle for self-acceptance

Mark W. McKnight

EDUCATION
2015 Master of Fine Arts, University of California, Riverside
2007 Bachelor of Fine Arts, San Francisco Art Institute

HONORS & AWARDS
2019 Light Work Artist in Residence, Syracuse, NY
2018 Bar Fund, Los Angeles, CA
2017 Artist in residence, Storm King Art Center, New York, NY
2008 Fulbright Scholar, Helsinki, Finland

SOLO + TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS                    *denotes two-person exhibition

Aperture Portfolio Prize, Aperture Foundation, New York, 2019

Shadow & Shadow of Shadow, Roger’s Office, Los Angeles, CA, 2019*

Turn Into, James Harris Gallery, Seattle, WA, 2018

if water forgets how to play mirror, QUEENS, Los Angeles, CA, 2018

He’s Time. I’m Just a Clock., Strongroom, Los Angeles, CA, 2015
Objects & Actions of Consequence (MFA Thesis), Culver Center for the Arts, Riverside, CA, 2015

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

The Mistake Room, Los Angeles, 2020 (forthcoming)

Koppe Astner, Glasgow, Scotland, 2020 (forthcoming)

The Procession, VACATION, New York, NY 2019

Automatic Door, Paul Soto / Park View, Los Angeles, 2020
Close to Home, Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles, CA, 2019
Defining Photographs and Radical Experiments in Inland Southern California, 1950 to Present, California Museum of Photography & Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA, 2019
Monotasking, Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA 2018
A Spaghetti Dress for world Peace, Park View, Los Angeles, CA, 2017
Facing, BBQLA, Los Angeles, CA, 2017
La Mesa Brutal, Arturo Bandini, Los Angeles, CA, 2017
9-11, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA, 2016
Russian Doll, M+B, Los Angeles, CA, 2015
Surface of Color, The Pit, Los Angeles, CA, 2015
20 / 20, Christophe Guye (Selection of Grupa o.k.), Zurich, Switzlerland, 2015
Dressed in Gray, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 2013
Gray Day, Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CA, 2010
The Informers, J-MoCA, Los Angeles, CA 2010
The Lightbearers, POST Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 2010
10x10x10, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco, CA, 2009
Various Photographs, Curated by Tim Barber, The New York Photo Festival, New York, NY, 2008

BOOKS

Heaven is a Prison, London / Marseilles: Loose Joints, 2020 (forthcoming monograph)

New Queer Photography, Dortmund, Germany: Verlag Kettler, 2020 (forthcoming)
In the Sunshine of Neglect: Defining Photographs & Radical Experiments in Inland Southern California 1945 – Present, Riverside, CA: Inlandia Institute, 2019
Myers-Szupinska, Julian & Szupinska-Myers, Joanna. 20 / 20 (Exhibition Catalog), Zurich, Switzlerland: Sturm & Drang, 2015.

OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Marcelo Gabriel Yáñez. “Mark McKnight.” Contact Sheet Annual 2020, Light Work. Syracuse, NY, Summer 2020 (forthcoming)
Staff. “Highlights from Paris Internationale: Mark McKnight at Park View / Paul Soto.” Purple Fashion Magazine (Online), October 23, 2019.
Greenwell, Garth. “Spotlight: Mark McKnight”, Aperture Magazine #236, New York, NY, September 10, 2019
Staff. “Mark McKnight in Automatic Door at Park View / Paul Soto,” Contemporary Art Writing Daily, September 4, 2019.
Weitzman, Jordan. “The Magic Hour: Conversations on Photography, Episode 29: Mark McKnight” Montreal, 2019
Embser, Brendan. “2019 Portfolio Prize Winner: Mark McKnight”, Aperture (Online), April 19, 2019
Feinstein, Jon. “Review: Mark McKnight at James Harris Gallery,” Photograph Magazine, Dec., 2018
Adams, Thomas. “Episode 19: Mark McKnight”, Art Traffic, Online (Audio Interview), 2018
Darling, Nikki. “Shadowboxing Mark McKnight” (Exhibition text), QUEENS, Los Angeles, CA, 2018
Myers-Szupinska, Julian & Szupinska-Myers, Joanna. “20/20: Mark McKnight” (Exhibition catalog text), Sturm & Drang, Zurich, Switzlerland, 2015
“Forging Queer Identity with Abstraction,” Ahn, Abe. HyperAllergic. October 19, 2015

LECTURES, ARTIST TALKS

Yale University, New Haven, CT 2020

Mark McKnight and Garth Greenwell in Conversation, Aperture Foundation, New York, 2020

Beyond Gender & The Analog Reproducible Image, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 2020

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 2019

UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, 2019
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, 2019
USC, Los Angeles, CA, 2018
UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 2017
UC Riverside, Riverside, CA, 2014
Pitzer College, Los Angeles, CA, 2013
San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, 2013
University of Turku, Turku, Finland, 2009
Photo Alliance at the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, 2009