By creating dialogues between image and text, this body of work takes on the age-old challenge of depicting multiple perspectives on a subject in a single composition. These conversations address the mystery and irony of the strong story lines that scribe through our lives, often uninvited; story lines on time and death, god and meaning, love and fear, work and play.
With each composition I seek to organically expand the storyline of the image with the text, and so generate an unusually multifaceted narrative within the viewer’s mind while still leaving plenty of room for them to personalize it – to experience it from their own set of evoked memories, dreams and ideas.
One question that is often asked is whether the text or the image comes first when I am creating these compositions. The answer is half-and-half, but the order is often not what you may think by looking at the composition. This work has really taught me the value of trust in the artistic process – for sometimes I will get a bit of text that “feels” like it is suitable for a photo, and that scrap of paper will hang on the wall for months waiting (and vice versa with photos); and, sometimes, the two will come together right away.
The prints are silver gelatin on fiber, selenium toned. I then write the text on each print by hand, using a pure pigment pen designed for use by pen and ink artists (the most archival available).Each print is produced in a strictly limited edition – the 16 by 20 inch compositions are limited to 12 prints, while the larger compositions are limited to 6 prints.
Mark L. Tompkin's photography is in numerous collections including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and The Center for Fine Art Photography. In the last ten years Mark’s work has been featured in seven solo shows (including FotoFest) and six group shows (including The Center for Fine Art Photography, The Houston Center for Photography, and The Vancouver Photography Arts Society).
He is the author of the forthcoming book Meeting the Muse, two other national released books, Illuminations in 2006 and Remembering to Live in 2003, as well as the self published Evolving Late. Periodicals worldwide have featured Mark’s work, including: Grain Magazine, Parabola, Photovision, Leading Edge Review, and Light of Consciousness.
Awards include: Certificate of Merit from Prix de la Photographie, Paris; BookStop Featured Artist of the Month in May 2001; Barnes and Noble Artist of the Month, February 2001; and Barnes and Noble Poet of the Month June 2003. His underwater photography has won six national and internationals awards.
“Mark L. Tompkins is one of those rare photographers who is as articulate with his words as he is with his camera.”
“Mark Tompkins expresses the longings of the human spirit in images and words that stir the soul. You will find yourself in them.”
Mark L. Tompkins • Dialogues
February 6 - 28, 2009
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All images © Mark L. Tompkins. All rights reserved.
23 Sandy Gallery • 623 NE 23rd Ave • Portland, Oregon 97232 • 503-927-4409
Hours: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 12-6, and By Appointment