Holocaust VII



St. George



College of Cardinals



Little Orchids


Mark D. Roberts
Photography - Sculpture

E-mail: mroberts43@gmail.com
telephone: 612-331-5479

Mark, born in Carmel California, gave up a performing career when Ansel Adams introduced him to photography in the mid ‘50’s. 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’ 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. The work was exhibited at the St. Paul’s Benedictine Center this past fall. Mark continues to draw heavily on his early musical experiences, which are reflected in much of his work. His current collaborative sculptural project with Denise Rouleau is entitled “Art of the Catacomb.” Although not musical in content, it displays a “grid structure” much like a manuscript, and the colors and forms of the figures are actually quite tonal in content.


A Chemigram is an alternative photographic
process invented in 1956 by the Belgium photographer Pierre Cordier. It breaks the rules of traditional photography. Instead of relying on safe lights in the darkroom and following exact chemical formulas, a Chemigram is processed through cross–contaminated chemistry in full room light. The results can be stunning or heartbreaking due to its trait of unpredictability. I take it one step further by introducing photographic images in the work. Among some of the examples of this process are images from the “the Lost Manuscript Series,” “Stravinsky Suite,” and an ongoing project that began over twenty years ago titled, “the Holocaust Portfolio.”

Art of the Catacomb
Collaboration with Denise Rouleau

With this body of work we intend to evoke questions about the nature of life and death, the significance of ritual and the notion of individual identity within the broader scope of the human condition. The framework of the catacombs consists mainly of vintage printer trays that are disassembled and reworked into unique pieces of architecture to house individually sculpted clay mummy forms.  Our culture's fascination with mummies derives from, in part, the sense of a mystery that begs to be unraveled; they prompt us to question who we are and how we will be remembered.

The Last Polaroid Show
Collaboration with Denise Rouleau

This series is titled The Last Polaroid Show since SX-70 Time Zero Polaroid film has fallen victim to the digital age and is no longer produced. The process involves hand-manipulating the photographic film dyes of the Polaroid before they harden, resulting in unique, surreal and impressionistic images. With the few remaining batches of film we are focusing on the beautiful surroundings of Como Conservatory in St. Paul, MN. Images are available up to four feet square. When we finish this project it will represent, sadly, an end of an era.