Saturday, December 19, 2009

A review of Delirium

A review of Delirium, curated by Mark Sink. Illiterate Gallery

Delirium is aptly named, not simply as a way to describe the fantastic and diverse collection of artists that Mark Sink has collected for the show at Illiterate, but as a testament to the state of mind of the artists as well.

de·lir·i·um (n)

1. A disordered state of the mental faculties resulting from disturbance of the functions of the brain, and characterized by incoherent speech, hallucinations, restlessness, and frenzied or maniacal excitement.

You really can’t go wrong with the phrase “maniacal excitement”.

When Mark Sink was asked to curate a show for Illiterate they did not ask him to do anything in particular and he hadn’t a clue what he was going to do. What came out was a show highlighting some of Mark’s favorite works. In his curatorial “howdy” speech he references having works in the show that he keeps around the house. That is to say this show is more like an intimate collection show than a typical group show.

This does beg the question what the role of curator is in this day and age. We recently had Eric Paddock, photography curator for the Denver Art Museum, speak at one of WWA’s fundraisers and he boiled down the role of curator quite nicely- that of the sifter. The one who sifts through all of it- the good, the bad and the ugly- to come out with what should be considered iconic and relevant. Quite a task actually, but then again so is doing the dishes- and we created a machine for that too, the dishwasher. Curators then can be considered the greatest in task saving appliances for the arts. Don’t have time to look at all of the art in the world? No problem, have a curator do it. Of all of the art appliances in the world, I would like to be on the record saying that I think curators are the most valuable.

Mark Sink in particular is Denver’s most undervalued art resource. He has been continuously been holding the IV bag of life saving fluids for our art scene for decades. He is the Cheshire cat of every art opening worth being at. Madly holding a cigarette, smiling a crooked smile a little too broadly for any environment he seems to find himself. Mark is a rare breed, a blend of celebrity art icon and street vagabond. He is the modern day high flying Nadar, but with street cred.

In Delirium he invites us into his living room to peruse through his personal collection. As you will hear in any lecture about modern or post modern art, buy what you like, you will figure out what it means (and if it was worth it!) later. Now we get to see what Mark Sink likes, a peek at the creept collection of persoanl loves. It is important to note that this show was not juried per say, in other words, not a “best of what we could get in a month or two” kind of show- but a glimpse into the collection of an artist and curator who has been collecting art for three decades, or since the Family Ties original first season on NBC.

So, the show. It is centered around Sylvie Tillman’s five foot grid of nine close up black and white anus images that are graphically nailed to the wall with larger than necessary tenpenny nails. Close-ups of what I imagine to be both men and women’s anuses, but honestly it’s hard to tell. The oddly disquieting part of these non-erotic sexual images is their, well, beauty. We are drawn to inspect parts of the human anatomy that most of us have never even glanced at to this degree. The sphincter in all its glory. Even as I write the word sphincter I see how it may be hard for some of you to see how there could be beauty here, but trust me it is. And this push and pull of subject matter versus aesthetic seems to be the glue that binds the images of this show. A seemingly irreverent subject matter couched in staggeringly simple, quietly beautiful images.

There is an aesthetic quality to these images that out shine the subjects themselves. That is to say the importance of craftsmanship is apparent in all of these pieces in this show. The images, like Mark’s own “medicine bottle” photogram, seem from another world in their stark beauty. The velvet like black tones wrought from the silver gelatin paper are a gorgeous backdrop for the sparse knifelike glowing whites that spring from the paper to express the contours of the bottle. The subject matter, again, rendered irrelevant in the face of such beauty.

The curatorial hang of this show is nicely developed, there is a series of three images on the wall; Zimmer’s Michelle, Wes Kennedy’s The Uberman, and an unknown photographer’s Victorian era ménage-a trios - really highlight the importance of the curator’s perspective. With these images grouped together we interpret one image based on the previous subject, much like a book. So, after seeing the Victorian taboo sex scene, we are set up to interpret the images to follow with same eyes, regardless of the intent of these image makers. So that Zimmer and Kennedy images are both imbued with an open sexuality that would not be present if it were not fore the brazen threesome that oh so recently just saw. Mark uses this to his advantage, playing images off of one another like the director of a mad improv dark comedy musical.

In fact the entire room is filled with an exciting sexual energy that seeps in to each and every image on the wall. I am not sure if this based on the images and proximity to one another, or simply the fact that we feel as though we are peering into Mark's bedroom.

The weakest pieces in this collection are the Harry Walters mixed media pieces. They feel quite disconnected from the rest of the show. In fact I thought they were part of a different show entirely, not part of Delirium. Part of this is that they make up 20% of the wall space, whereas the rest of Mark’s collection is made up of predominantly each artist being represented by one or two pieces. Coupled with the fact that the method of art making is so completely divergent from the rest of the show - it easily feels like something leftover from last month. Unfortunately, I want to like Walter’s pieces- it’s just that they are done in such a way that just seems clever without any real substance.

Delirium is a show that should not be missed. You will have to go soon to check it out though, on January 8 it will change. Rumors are that it will change into a virtual recreation of Mark’s living room. So something akin to cracked glass, dying plants, an 11x14 view camera or two and more gut wrenchingly beautiful art than you can throw a dart at will be on view until February.

Illiterate : : 82 S. Broadway : : Den, CO : : 303-709-5292 : : Thurs-Sun 11a-7p


Friday, December 4, 2009

Delirium at Illiterate

Don Carleno, Jason Appelton, Anne Arden McDonald, Cheryl Bailey, Havelock Bailie, Mike Berg, Bryan Boettiger, David Brady, Zabo Chabiland, Clare Cornell, Scott Covert, Joel Dallenbach, Michael Ensminger, Susan Evans, Radek Grosman, John Hallin, Allison Harvard, Kristen Hatgi, Susanne Junker, Wes Kennedy, Agnes Kunz, Lori Nix, Ron Pollard, Winter Prather, Mark Sink, Mindy Sink, Jeff Starr, William Stockman, Katie Taft, Ruth Thorne Thomsen, Sylvie Tillmann, Harry Walters, Wesley Willis, David Zimmer

de·lir·i·um (n)

1. A disordered state of the mental faculties resulting from disturbance of the functions of the brain, and characterized by incoherent speech, hallucinations, restlessness, and frenzied or maniacal excitement.

2. fig. Uncontrollable excitement or emotion, as of a delirious person; frenzied rapture; wildly absurd thought or speech.

"life creates itself in delirium and is undone in ennui."
~ Emile M. Cioran'

One of Denver's most celebrated photographer's, Mark Sink, opens his mind and private collection to the public, in an exhibition of works by mentors, colleagues, friends, disciples and himself.

From Mark Sink:

I've been in a state of Delirium since I received a phone call
14 days ago while in New York from Illiterate asking if I would create a show at their gallery.

Returning to Denver, I looked around my home and thought about the selected works I've collected over the course of my life that I still keep close around me. I saw a commonality among these selected images — an excited and sexually distraught staged fantasy. I found in the artists, a group of people who push the boundaries in visual stimulation and sexual stimulation, particularly through the lense of self analysis.  It became lucidly clear that I'm attracted to artists who speak through their work with a unique voice, a voice which communicates a strong identity, or at least a strong desire for one. To me, it's work with a personality recognizable even at a glimpse, across a chaotic room, or in some cases, a chaotic mind.

The process of elimination in chosing a body of work from my collection became a hunt for this state of Delirium. The resulting work exhibits a variety of media and processes both contemporary and vintage. The group of artists who make up the Delirium collection consist of my colleagues, mentors and emerging minds.

I hope that something somewhere in these odd photographs touches others like they continue to touch me, right down the center of the spine, with a tingling shudder of exctatic distortion. It's like that moment when you finish taking a pee.



The first wave of Delirium opens Dec. 4 at Illiterate (82 S. Broadway, Denver, CO). The second wave hits on January 8.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Robin Rice Gallery

The Robin Rice Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition of photography by Mark Sink & Kristen Hatgi.
For the last two years Mark and Kristen have collaborated using one of the earliest photographic methods, collodion wet plate to create ambrotypes on glass and tintypes on aluminum. They use a 1860 style view camera to create one-of-a-kind images, which become windows into an intimate, romantic, and beautiful world of faces, still lives, nudes, and landscapes. In this demanding process, the collodion coated tin or glass plates are immersed in a silver nitrate solution, and then they must be exposed in the camera and developed while still wet. Serendipitous flaws and beautiful imperfections are an inevitable part of this imprecise hands-on process.
This show includes a combination of 24 tintypes and ambrotypes, which are 8x10 and smaller in size. Their intimate sizes ask the viewers to look closer and spend more time with these photographs to fully appreciate their power. — A welcome antidote to today's nonstop, ¬instantaneous imagery. Paradoxically, this intersection of past and present gives these pieces an unmistakably contemporary feel. The two collaborators deliberately play up the ambiguity of time.
The nudes (some recalling E.J. Bellocq's alluring portraits of New Orleans prostitutes in 1912) are suffused with freshness and sensuality, even eroticism at times, with nearly all of them coming off as refined rather than crass.
Fredrick Scott Archer developed the collodion process in 1851. Artists such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, William Henry Jackson and Civil War photographer Mathew Brady used the process, due to its cost and versatility advantages. In addition Sink and Hatgi’s work can also be seen revived in contemporary artists work such as Sally Mann, Jody Ake, and Scully & Osterman.
Mark Sink, photographer, curator and teacher, has been making a living from fine art photography since 1978. His personal work is in numerous museum collections along with solo and group shows throughout the US, South America, and Europe. Kristen Hatgi received her BFA from the Art Institute of Boston in 2008. She has exhibited her photography in Boston, Washington, DC, and Denver.
For more information please contact Robin Rice at 212-366-6660 or email

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Mark Sink & Kristen Hatgi
November 11th through December 20th, 2009
Opening Reception: Wednesday, November, 11th, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

325 West 11th St. NYC NY 
Wednesday - Sunday 12-7pm

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mr. Pool

Friday August 28th 2009
Giant Wet Plate blow ups
Mr. Pool
Boulder CO.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rebecca DiDomenico on pure pleasure

The Pleasure of….
The pleasure of just right words,
the pleasure of a face lit up from within,
the pleasure of green, green moss as far as the eye can see,
the pleasure in the fragrance of a blooming rose,
the sensual pleasure in the mystery of the human body,
the mystical pleasure of intimacy, of baring one’s soul to another,
the simple pleasure of a bird song,
the pleasure of discovery, of travel to diverse, cultural destinations,
the pleasure of living with concern for the earth,
the pleasure of suspense, of anticipation,
the pleasure of hearing a story, of reading a story,
the pleasure of resonating sounds, of mind expanding music.
The pleasure of children’s pure beings, unabashed and unselfconscious,
The all too important pleasure of water, and the decadence of hot water,
the pleasure of stars sparkling in the dark blue, night sky,
the pleasure of touching an animal,
the pleasure of inventing a searchlight that moves from wonder to wonder, basking everything in it’s light,
The pleasure of work, of finding an impossible task and trying to tackle it.
the pleasure of unpretentious, unsensored creations.
The random pleasure of discovery, of research and information,
the pleasures of creating something out of nothing ,
the pleasure of creating similarities between seemingly disparate concepts,
the pleasure in experiencing seamless connection,
the pleasure of harmonies that make no sense, but are perfect anyway,
the pleasure of no time, just pure space,
the pure pleasure of enjoyment without too many preconceived notions.
The pleasure of deep, internal satisfaction from real accomplishments,
the pleasure of addictions, of going further than you know you should, or are supposed to go,
the pleasure of obsessive conviction,
the pleasure of breakthroughs,
the pleasure of no interruptions,
the pleasure in the freedom to run wild, to make up your own definitions,
the pleasure to express all emotion, good or bad, with no judgment,
The pleasures of shiny, glimmering situations, illuminating events like stars that connect in the heavens.
the pleasure to be under a spell , happy to be strangely affected,
the pleasure to be a genuine soul learning as you go,
the pleasure of a soul, who takes her shadow for a walk, her libido for a romp, her umbrellas for a procession ,
The pleasure of taste buds in contact with a bursting blueberry,
The pleasure of a dog leaping, ears caught in mid air.
The pleasure of snuggling, of warm, fluffy blankets,
the pleasure of making a secret fort,
The pleasure of a having a shelter at all,
The pleasure of ridiculous jokes and off color thoughts,
the pleasure of things that don’t quite fit, things that work even though they don’t make sense.
The pleasure of seeing and being seen,
the pleasure of complete relaxation,
the pleasure of solutions that rise up like miracles when you least expect them.
The pleasure of exploding color, the pleasure of texture, the pleasure of a new taste, the pleasure of a smell that sets off a memory, the pleasure of a familiar sound, the pleasure center of the heart where the senses are mixed together like a massive interconnected communication center, lines all touching with a universal language,
the pleasure in a child’s beautiful mistakes.
the pleasure of pure unadulterated joy,
The pleasure of risky business, of not knowing but jumping into the fire anyway,
The pleasure of aching desire, of unrequited love,
The pleasure of multiples, and the pleasure of one of a kinds.
The pleasure of continual striving,
the pleasure of evolution, of movement towards something.
The pleasure of waves, lulling sounds repeating over and over,
the pleasure of a million little strings attached to all sources at the same time.
The pleasure of following your fate,
the pleasure of being real,
the altruistic pleasure of understanding and compassion for all.
The pleasure of not pretending, of not holding stuff inside,
the pleasure in creative work , of never ending ideas,
The pleasure of true recognition,
the pleasure of familiar comfort,
the pleasure of listening deeply,
the pleasure of out of control, hysterical laughter,
the pleasure of being overcome by instinct ,
The pleasure of acute awareness,
the pleasure of acceptance,
the spontaneous pleasures of play,
the pleasure of loving and being loved, with your whole self.
and finally, the complete pleasure of being enveloped in a joyous exuberance for life!
Rebecca DiDomenico

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pure Pleasure in Boulder




June 5th - September 6th 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Nofound is a blog-project where contemporary photographers are invited to show fragments of their diary.

Beginning in december 2007.
« Someone once told me 'ok, so what you like about photography is : sex, drugs and rock and roll!'. I don't like rock and roll ! With 'nofound', I chose to open a space for contemporary photographers to show fragments of their intimate diaries. Go and find the moment wether it was intentional or not. Who cares ? I don't... The look through the eye of the storm, the one picture that will bring out memories, the universal image allowing us to say 'me too'. The one showing us our one humanity through a presence, a glimpse of happiness, a violence, or an absence. This isn't a photo lesson, I wouldn't dare, just a try to search, universes. That's why, 'nofound'. » Emeric Glayse

« One of the best things about the internet - in fact one of the few saving graces of the internet - is the abundance of great little projects : online galleries and portfolios one stumbles across while playing link tag from one website to the next. Often I find myself spending an afternoon indulging in the digital equivalent of 'six degrees of Kevin Bacon.' I discovered 'nofound' on one such afternoon. The brainchild of Emeric Glayse, a French-born connoisseur of beautiful contemporary photography, 'nofound' excels in the unknown, both in terms of content - dark brooding nudity and blurry intimacy blend seamlessly with ghostly landscapes and private moments - and contributors. Emeric Glayse likes the underdogs, the newcomers, and those fresh on the heels of established photographers ; he's created not only a platform for these whippersnappers, but also a community. Names both familiar and soon-to-be-familiar link, discuss, and exhibit together on a regular basis. Ryan Foerster, Olivia Malone, Brad Tromel, Lina Scheynius (who shot a fashion story for our upcoming issue), Sean Orena, Jonnie Craig and Dana Goldstein will all make regular appearances both in your book collection and your bookmarks folder before too long. Spend a few minutes wandering through 'nofound', and you'll understand why Emeric Glayse chose his contributors and confidants ; spend an hour longer and your fingers will be sore from all the googling, url-ing, and picture saving. » Philip Watts for Dossier Journal

Produce by nofoundproject (
Paris, France

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jack Kerouac and friends in NYC

Silent footage of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and others in New York, Summer 1959. The location is in and around the Harmony Bar & Restaurant at E 9th St. and 3rd Ave. Others seen are Mary Frank (wife of film-maker Robert Frank) and children Pablo and Andrea, as well as Lucien's wife Francesca Carr and their three sons, Simon, Caleb and Ethan. Does anyone recognise any of the others?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crushed Fireflies and white lead.


Renaissance artist Caravaggio used an early form of photography to project images of his subjects onto a canvas using a noxious concoction of crushed fireflies and white lead.

By Nick Squires in Rome

10 Mar 2009

The 16th century master used modern darkroom techniques to create his masterpieces, more than 200 years before the invention of the camera.

Italian researchers claim the technique explained why many of his subjects were left-handed - the image projected onto the canvas had been reversed.

Art historian Roberta Lapucci said Caravaggio's dramatic 'chiaroscuro' style of light and shadow was based on "a whole set of techniques that are the basis of photography".

Art history scholars have long known that Caravaggio worked in a sort of darkroom, illuminating his subjects through a hole in the ceiling and projecting the image onto a canvas using a lens and a mirror.

But Mrs Lapucci is the first researcher to suggest that he treated the canvas with light-sensitive substances, including a luminescent powder made from crushed fireflies, in order to "fix" the image as 19th century photographers later would.

He then used white lead mixed with chemicals such as mercury, to outline the image in greater clarity, she believes.

Mrs Lapucci, who teaches at an arts institute in Florence, the Studio Art Centers International, based her hypothesis on research by British artist David Hockney, who wrote in his 2001 book "Secret Knowledge" that many old masters used optical instruments to compose their paintings.

"There is lots of proof, notably the fact that Caravaggio never made preliminary sketches," said Mrs Lapucci.

An "abnormal number" of Caravaggio's subjects are left-handed. "That could be explained by the fact that the image projected on the canvas was backwards," she said.

Caravaggio's use of mercury might explain his violent temper - prolonged exposure to the chemical can affect the central nervous system.

Caravaggio was notorious during his lifetime for becoming involved in brawls, one of which ended in the death in 1606 of a young adversary, which forced the artist to flee from Rome to Malta.

Dr John Spike, a Caravaggio expert based in Florence, said that to prove the thesis that the Baroque master used chemicals to "fix" projected images, the paint in the pictures would have to be subjected to laboratory testing.

"If evidence was found, that would be amazing. But it would involve taking samples from some of the world's greatest masterpieces, which is not ideal.

"We know that he worked in a dark room and that he was fascinated by mirrors, and he was living in Rome at a time when it was a hotbed of scientific inquiry. "Might he have used this technique? It's possible - his protector, Cardinal Del Monte, was also the protector of Galileo, and they were all fascinated by optics and the new physics."

Leonardo da Vinci, who lived in the century before Caravaggio, was familiar with the principles of the "camera obscura" but Mrs Lapucci believes Caravaggio was the first to use it in paintings.

Roberta Lapucci: Mrs Lapucci is the first researcher to suggest that Caravaggio treated the canvas with light-sensitive substances <>

Caravaggio's Supper at Emmaus <>

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009