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5 Things We Learned... Mark Dorf



I met Mark Dorf in New York in 2016. As a fellow Kentuckian, we no doubt bonded as most Kentuckians do - with bluegrass banter and bourbon references - but after pleasantries had been exchanged, we got to the heart of my visit: Mark's genre-breaking photography. A mix of real and unreal environments, his new perceptions of tech-influenced landscapes are mesmerizing. He blurs the categories of photography, digital media, and sculpture while artistically commenting on the relationship - perceived and imagined - between humanity, urbanism, nature, and technology. Trust me: it's impressive. Mark's exhibited internationally at prestigious institutions such as the Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam and The Lima Museum of Contemporary Art. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Deutsche Bank Collection and Fidelity Investments Collection, among others.

Here are 5 Things We Learned about Mark.

What made you...you?

A culture of images. 

When are you happiest?

I find that I am happiest, or perhaps the most excited, when I feel like I have resolved on and developed a new vocabulary within my practice. I often start with months of reading and writing at the beginning of a new project—and to be to be honest, usually this research is done without even the idea of starting a new project—before making a single image or object with true clear intention. I am of course always making images and objects while this research phase is going on, but there is a moment when the patterns sync up. The moment when I find the vocabulary of my research meets or has begun to manifest itself in that of the images and objects that I am making. It is at this point that I know I have created a mental environment that I am comfortable in and can navigate with a basic level of clarity. From there I still have an immense amount of work to do, but it is this first realization of new direction that is an exciting moment for me.  

Would you rather have a muse or be a muse?

Neither to be honest. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a muse as I don’t tend to like a lot of attention drawn to myself in that specific kind of way. And to have a singular muse to me has a sense of dependence on a single point of inspiration. I take inspiration from a huge array of different corners of the room I inhabit.  

Who do you admire?

I admire those that achieve a flexibility in their perspectives and that are not only willing but actively pursuing alternative perspectives outside of their own.  

What is important?

To me what is most important is to stay critical and aware of the cultures and communities that you exist within. To try and understand your own position, the position of others, and the effects that your position takes on others. 

Follow Mark on Instagram @mrkdrf


Images from left to right: Mark Dorf, photo by Eliot Dudik; Landscape 14, 2017, UV Prints, Birch Plywood, Tempered Glass, Imitation Grass, Fiberglass Rock, Fluorescent Light, Bottled Water, House Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata), Bark Sheet, Resin; Landscape 10, 2017, UV Print on Dibond mounted to Birch Plywood, From series Transposition; Title: Landscape 06, 2017, UV Print on Dibond mounted to Birch Plywood, From series Transposition; Landscape 15, 2017, UV Print, Birch Plywood, Tempered Glass, Fake Turf, Fluorescent Light, From series Transposition; Landscape 16, 2017, UV Print on Dibond mounted to Birch Plywood, From series Transposition