Mark and Denise have been friends for over ten years and share a studio in Minneapolis. During their freetime, you may find them scootering around the city lakes.
Mark, born in Carmel California, gave up a performing career in music when Ansel Adams introduced him to photography in the mid 1950s. He was a participant in the first California Gifted Kids Program at Stanford University, receiving a Masters in Music.
In 1978, with encouragement from Robert Mapplethorpe, he published the “Adam Without Eve” portfolio. He continued to work in large format photography until 1982 when he studied with Pierre Cordier who originated the chemigram process. At this point Mark’s work underwent a dramatic change and he started working almost entirely with chemigrams, producing a body of work that centered on themes such as the Holocaust and Lost Musical Manuscripts. He also experimented with Polaroid materials, producing hand-manipulated images as large as 4 x 4 feet in dimension. Mark continues to work primarily with alternative processes in photography along with sculptural form. In 2006 his work was featured in the book, Alternative Photography: Art and Artists, Edition I by Malin Fabbri. He also produced a reliquary series in which he reimagines sacred spaces and objects of devotion using transfers, manipulated Polaroids, and traditional photography.
Mark continues to draw heavily on his early musical experiences, which are reflected in much of his work. The “Art of the Catacomb” series, although not musical in content, displays a grid structure much like a manuscript, and the colors and forms of the figures are actually quite tonal in content.
Denise, born and raised in Duluth, MN, considers herself primarily a self-taught artist. She grew up in a family -her mother (Pam Rouleau) a talented miniaturist -that supported her independence and (sometimes over-ambitious) art projects. After high school, she spent two years living and traveling throughout Europe. She received her BA in international relations and Italian literature at the University of Minnesota in 1998. She intended to pursue a career in the Foreign Service and completed an internship with the American Consulate in Naples, Italy. During a fifth year of study at the University of Bologna she attended a Byzantine art course, which perked a growing interest in medieval art.
While contemplating graduate school she worked as a manager at Muffuletta Cafe in St. Paul (where she met Mark). She soon realized that her real joy came from art when she found herself passing countless hours constructing detailed replicas of the restaurant and guests in Gingerbread and marzipan. She returned to Italy to study traditional mosaic methods at the Cooperativa Mosaica in Ravenna, and has reinterpreted these techniques using natural materials that are indigenous to Minnesota.
Over the past several years she has collaborated with Mark on their â€œmummyâ€ and manipulated Polaroid series. Examples of the work have been featured at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, FL and Gallery Sei-Un-Do in Zurich, Switzerland. Their “Art of the Catacomb” exhibition debuted in August 2007 at Gallery 181 in Lawrence, Massachusetts before premiering at Nina Bliese Gallery in Minneapolis later that fall. While she did not recognize it for a long time, she now (proudly) admits that she has followed in her mother’s footsteps in sculpting miniatures (although on a massive scale).