HERE BEFORE - Woodcuts and Drawings by Mike Marks

Sep 16, 2022 - Oct 22, 2022

HERE BEFORE – Woodcuts and Drawings by Mike Marks features new works that explore themes of memory and permanence within the landscape.

The works in Here Before explore how memory and landscape become fragile depictions of one another. Using printmaking and drawing, themes of movement and permanence within the landscape are revealed in the process to different degrees. The role of the hand is vital to this work, even when its mark-making is concealed in plain sight. How does the hand mimic connection or disconnection from the land I’ve experienced? What is lost and what remains between the time of being in a place and bringing that place back in the studio?

The prints in Here Before are all woodcuts, painstakingly carved by hand to mimic digital representations of nature. These prints become conduits between my hand and the digital information used to originally document the places depicted. This process involves a quick moment becoming a slow one, reducing a memory to repetitive mark-making in removing wood from the surface of a block. What remains after carving produces the image. When a moment is elongated and stretched out, what remains or is lost in the process?

The drawings in Here Before approach this idea from a different angle, focused more on the fragility of memory and place. The surface of the paper is perforated before drawing to alter it physically. If mishandled, what will bend and fall away? Making a mark in the paper that both compromises it and is a part of the drawing itself becomes a reminder of the fragility that constantly exists in nature. Drawing has always been a place of refuge for me in my art practice, and it was essential this past year to return to it. In the end, the drawings came full circle to my approach in woodcut by embracing a singular surface of mark-making.

About the Artist

Mike Marks (b. Morgantown, West Virginia) has been working out of Minneapolis and the Highpoint Center for Printmaking since 2016. Growing up between the mountains of the east and the Northwoods of Wisconsin, his work reflects his deep connection to time spent in all places high and north. Mike studied Drawing and Printmaking at the Cleveland Institute of Art (BFA) and Printmaking at the University of Delaware (MFA).

Mike has received numerous grants and fellowships over the years for his work in printmaking, including a McKnight Fellowship (2020), MN State Arts Board Grant (2019), and Jerome Foundation Fellowship (2018).

His work is in the permanent collections of institutions such as: The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN); Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis, MN); Douro Museum (Peso da Régua, Portugal); Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum of Art (Aomori, Japan); Zuckerman Museum of Art (Kennesaw, GA); California College of Arts (Oakland, CA); and Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, ME)