Born in San Francisco in 1966, Mark Stephen Kornbluth was raised in Montreal, then Cleveland. Since graduating high school, Mark has lived in Toronto (twice), Los Angeles, Westchester County (also twice), and New York City, where he has resided since 2002. While the artist retains a natural wanderlust, the Manhattan skyline—whether seen from land or air—is his touchstone, New York City providing a wellspring of inspiration and an artistic community in which he thrives.
Mark will tell you that he has always had a camera with him, for as long as he can remember, but that for much of his life, he was an artist in search of a medium. As a teen he secured an internship as a production assistant, converted that to an assistant stage manager role through ambition, a keen mind, and an infectious energy, and spent ten years in the theatrical arts—touring Broadway shows around the country, and working in film and television. Mark has studied a range of academic disciplines including art history, literature, psychology, and art therapy. It is no surprise then that his dramatic talents, wandering intellect, and insatiable curiosity find a home in the work of a fine art photographer. At once he is screenwriter, stage manager, director, and producer, an explorer of his world through the lens.
Mark holds an M.F.A. in acting from Sarah Lawrence College, where he studied with such greats as photographer Joel Sternfeld, actor and director Paul Austin, and dancer and choreographer Sara Rudner. His oeuvre spans fine art, commercial, documentary, and event photography. A diverse academic and professional background helps to define his unobtrusive and unique approach to creating images. In his career to date, Mark has photographed dancers, musicians, actors, politicians, writers, and everyday people.
DARK, Mark S. Kornbluth’s series of photographs of Broadway theaters during the pandemic lockdown, represents a new chapter for the artist. When circumstances turned his attention from portraiture and human interactions to desolate streets and shuttered buildings, he became an insightful observer of the presence of absence, of the way that people leave their marks on the urban environment and vice versa, a practiced listener in the silences. Now in 2023, when Times Square is teeming with life once again, Mark still seeks out the lonely hours of night, the interstitial moments, the darkness and the quiet, creating meditative photographs that speak volumes.
AIPAD The Photography Show, March 31 - April 2, New York, NY
DARK: The Photographs of Mark S. Kornbluth, March 2 - April 15, Cavalier Gallery, New York, NY
Art Palm Beach, Palm Beach Convention Center, January 26 - 29, West Palm Beach, FL
Inaugural Group Exhibition, January 10 - February 25, Cavalier Gallery, New York, NY
Fall Featured Works, November 25 - December 25, Cavalier Ebanks Galleries, Greenwich, CT
Art on Paper, September 8 - 11, Spanierman Modern, New York, NY
Group Show, August 5 - September 13, Cavalier Gallery, New York, NY
Group Photography Show, January 6 - 31, Cavalier Gallery, Palm Beach, FL
Art on Paper, September 9 - 12, Spanierman Modern, New York, NY
Chase Edwards Contemporary Gallery, August 12 - 19, Bridgehampton, NY
Art Market & Design, August 10 -13, Bridgehampton, NY
Group Show, June - July, Cavalier Ebanks Galleries, Greenwich, CT
The Palm Beach Show, February 11 - 16, Palm Beach, FL
Artists Association of Nantucket, March 7 - 19 and May 5 - 20, 2023
Photographing people on location in New York City has called me ever since I first visited thirty years ago. The city became the main subject of my work in the Spring of 2020. My life is deeply tied to this city, Times Square and to Broadway. It started here, and I always return to this place; I did theatre professionally, and many of my close friends still do.
I started the Broadway series with the intention to dramatize the language and narrative in the signage, contrasted with the stillness of the mise-en-scene. Despite the sudden and lasting emptiness that the pandemic gave rise to, I discovered a delightful tension, a sense of Broadway waiting for the promise and renewal that art invariably brings. I’m deeply curious about relationships between objects, how emotions are rooted in time and place, and how to create the power of a shared experience.
This exploration opened up a greater curiosity about the ways in which the city lived during and after a drought. Candida Höfer said, "What people do in spaces – and what these spaces do to them – is clearer when no one is present, just as an absent guest is often the subject of a conversation." So I am seeking to be everywhere where there is nobody. I was curious to see how the atmosphere of the city varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, and why. Thomas Struth said, "The urban structure is an accretion of so many decisions." Finding empty streets allows me to explore these questions.
I love the way that the ambient light at night, billboards and street lights became my studio lights, illuminating the grandeur that has always been, and remains unique to New York City. The images that emerge are more than just one snapshot, one frame, in a lot of cases more than one night. Like Mr. Struth, "I am constructing images, and in this respect they are like a painting...”
My intention is to communicate how New York City captivates me visually and the emotions I feel "in real time." I invite my audience to view these images as I have come to see them, as windows through which memory and time work in both directions --we need only look a little closer to know we will someday return, together.
Ansel Adams wrote: “A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels.” I have been infatuated with New York City for decades. I hope you will take the time to explore these images, and are also filled with the same wonder and awe that I am when wandering the city streets.