Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vanished Portfolio
Advanced copies available starting August 15th
Below is a link to view the catalog. Please enjoy and comment at your leisure.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Holocaust Portfolio

In 1942, my mother, Lavern Dubois--against better advice--went on to perform the Mendelssohn E minor violin concerto in occupied Paris.
She fled to Switzerland that night, just minutes before the Gestapo arrived pounding on her door. The stories that she would tell my brothers and me about the Nazi occupation were very chilling. Even though I was not witness to this horror, the stories my mom would tell me left me with some secondary wounds. This portfolio is dedicated to the memory of those musicians and artists who disappeared during this horrific period.
It is a very personal body of work that I have worked on for 30+ years, on and off; because of the heart-wrenching subject matter, I would take frequent and sometimes long-term sabbaticals from the work. Spending hours in the dark room for this project made me focus on this very painful and tragic period. I think of all the musical treasures, works of art and literature that were lost or destroyed, of the lives disrupted or worse--it is beyond my comprehension. I think of the Mozarts, Picassos and Mendelssohns lost from civilization, of the possible cures for heart disease and cancer.
This is my way of keeping the remembrance of that tragic era with us, praying that it will never be repeated.
This body of work to me is somewhat like a series of Bach variations on a central theme, where I explore the subject matter through a series of variations.
If my art has in any way the effect on the viewer that it has had on me, then I think it has some worth.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Visit my Current Exhibit: "Vita Occulta Plantarum" at the Bakken Museum

Vita occulta plantarum (The Secret Life of Plants)
Kirlian Photograpy by Mark D. Roberts

On View now : September 8, 2012-January 12, 2013

at the Bakken Museum 

What is Kirlian Photography?
The nonconventional photographic process referred to as Kirlian photography has, in actuality, been in existence since the late 1890’s.  It deals extensively with high-voltage electricity.  Electricity is used to make electro-photographs, commonly called Kirlian photographs. The image recorded on film is the corona discharge (spark) from the object being photographed. The Kirlian camera used to produce these images is the largest known camera in existence.  It accommodates sheets of film 12” X 20”, both continuous tone (black and white) as well as color.  The camera consists of a flat copper plate upon which the film is placed.  An object a (leaf, flower, hand etc.) is place on the film, and high-voltage electricity, at very low amperage, is pulsed through the metal plate.  The electricity passes through the film exposing it and producing an outline of the object on the plate as well as a surrounding corona.  If the film is color the corona discharge will contain various colors.  The final print will also often contain topographical features not visible to the naked eye. The end result is somewhat unpredictable and often times very surprising.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Reinterpreting the Crucifixation

In The "Chapel of the Cross" on the campus of Luther Seminary is my latest body of work.

I invite you to come, view and if you chose leave me your thoughts.

Adam without Eve

After 20 some years I have decided to re-release the "Adam Without Eve" portfolio.

The portfolio consists of 10 silver prints 8" x 10" printed on 11" x 14" paper, and housed in a elegant portfolio case.

The portfolio is issued in an edition of 100.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Visit "Losing Our Heads" at the Minnesota State Fair

If you happen to visit the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Building, you may notice a Third Place Ribbon dangling from Denise's sculptural piece "Losing our Heads". It is comprised of many little skulls sculpted in clay which appear to be floating in animated in conversation (Is anything really being said and is anyone listening? ) The title of the piece is inspired by the irrationality and extreme polarization that we are experiencing during these challenging times. Location #302 (near Mark's piece)

Mark's Minnesota State Fair Photograph

If you plan on visiting the Minnesota State Fair, stop by the Fine Arts Building to view Mark’s Kirilian photograph: Botanical II (location #294 –right by Denise’s piece!)

Click here to view more Kirlian images

...and read on if you want to learn more about this cool photographic process:

Botanical II (or Parsley) is from the series “Exploring the Inner Lives of Plants”. It is an example of an electro-photographic process called “Kirlian Photography.” To simply explain the Kirlian process: I place an inanimate or living subject, such a leaf, directly on a sheet of film that rests on a copper plate. The plate is then charged with high voltage electricity, creating a corona discharge, or spark, which exposes the film. The result is an ethereal imprint of the infrastructure of the plant. Through working with Kirlian photography I have discovered, (even when using two leaves picked from the same branch) that I cannot foresee what a subject will share or hide on film, as each living subject has a unique essence. I have also seen how the life of each plant unpredictably deteriorates through time by how its identity is recorded with each progressive exposure. In addition to photography, Kirlian cameras have been utilized in Eastern Europe as a medical diagnostic device. In the seventies they were embraced by new age groups in the U.S. as a way to read people’s auras. As a photographer, I am less interested in validating any of the controversial claims of interpreting energy fields or auras through Kirlian Photography. To me, it’s simply an elegant way of recording what you cannot easily see with the naked eye.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stories From The Catacombs : It Was the Little Things....

Mark and I found this vintage microscope set in an antique shop. The grid on the case door -perfect for some thoughtful mummy heads. Our specimens were randomly chosen among an array of collected things that had some significance (at least at one point in time). What are the little things? They are those trivial things that we allow to weigh upon us. They are the simple things that now mean so much. They are what we choose to notice and what we choose to ignore. They are the objects, thoughts, actions, reactions…. In the end we are the sum of many little things.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stories from the Catacombs: The Golden Mean (Four Cardinal Virtues)

This accordion shaped piece touches on the pursuit of balance and harmony. The four cardinal virtues – Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude- are often depicted as female allegorical figures in funerary sculpture. The English word cardinal comes from the Latin word cardo, which means "hinge." – All other virtues hinge upon these four virtues. The Golden Mean is considered the desired midpoint between the extremes of excess and deficiency in achieving virtue.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stories from the Catacombs...UNLEASH THE CATS (Terra-Gatto Warriors)

Unleash the Cats (Bloomington Art Center 2009-10)
Terra Gatto Warriors (close-up)

Unleash the Cats...
(Installation for our show "The Mummy Paradox" 
at the Bloomington Art Center )


Construction details: The cat heads are sculpted in clay; their bodies are stuffed with recycled plastic bags; their armor is woven and sewn burlap strips.

For this piece consider: Chinese Terra Cotta Warriors, mixed with an Egyptian legend and an Italian twist (as Gatto is Cat in Italian). Cats have their own sense of mystery and power. The reverence that ancient Egyptians had for their cats is evidenced by their depiction in tomb paintings and discoveries of ancient cat mummies buried alongside the pharaohs. We read about a myth that the Egyptians once thwarted an attack of foreign invaders by unleashing thousands of cats, which terrified the advancing regiment into a hasty retreat.  It made us consider our own resources. Will we need to call upon the cats as well? It was not until we finished creating all the cats and had placed them in formation that we decided to confront our large army with a small, harmless mouse –which adds even more implications.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Process: We wanted to create a long, framed horizontal catacomb filled with our hooded cardinals. The figures were created through a salt-firing process (thanks to Chuck Solberg) that involves adhering pieces of berries, steel wool, and wire to the bisque-fired clay before it goes through the final salt-firing. The salt fumes have a dramatic reaction on the clay under heat.  These elements are responsible for the mottled, almost bone-like appearance.

The mystery of this piece became evident when we started constructing the architectural framework of the catacomb.  First, we laid out one large printer case alongside three smaller ones to achieve a balanced arrangement.  Out of curiosity we visited the Vatican web site to find out how many cardinals there were at that time -which was one hundred ninety-four. When we counted up all the cells to see how close (or far off we were) we were shocked to discover that they came to exactly one hundred ninety-four!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Last Polaroid Show : Images of Como

Nine days till exhibition opens @ Como Park's Marjorie McNeely conservatory.

Dec. 6, 2009 - Jan 19, 2010
Reception Monday Dec. 14th 6-9 Pm

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Mummy Paradox

Please visit the Bloomington Art Center to view our exhibition of sculpture entitled "The Mummy Paradox".
December 11, 2009 - January 8, 2010

Artists Reception Friday December 11, 6 - 8 p.m.