Mark Sheinkman

(Born 1963 in New York, NY, Lives in New York)

The first work I showed in NY was a hybrid of photography, painting and sculpture. Then I showed light drawings using flashlights and other light sources. I began to feel there was too much time spent in a dark room with chemicals and it was expensive. In thinking about writers, all they needed was a pencil and paper. I decided to limit myself to just paper and pencil and eraser. Those graphite drawings were breakthrough works that have subsequently influenced everything I’ve worked on since.

I try not to think about the end result as much as the process, keeping myself open to accidents, new ideas and changes in direction. The way I’ve worked for a long time now is part of what’s appealing about abstraction. To me it’s this sense of freedom, the idea that I don’t have to know where I’m going to end up.

The last color painting I made for several years was an 80 foot painting for Bear Sterns’ new headquarters right after 9/11, called 1000 Lines. Everyday you were listening to the death toll, 2000, then 3000. The painting was a way of physically expressing and understanding what 1000 is. I thought for people, especially those working with big numbers in the bank, to actually see what 1000 looks like, would possibly give them access to the work even if they didn’t access it through appreciation of an abstract painting.

I remember an artist friend came to my studio to see some of the earliest color works from a few years ago. His comment to me was ‘you’re very brave’. ‘You’re known so much for being a black and white artist. It looks like your work but it’s such a big departure. Don’t you think you’re going to lose your audience, or dealers are not going to like it.’ To me that was besides the point. This is what I felt I wanted to do, what I needed to do and I’m very happy I took that risk.

— Conversation on May 28, 2020

Listen to our conversation here:


Selected Image from the Collection:

Sheinkman, Mark, Druxton, 2007, graphite on paper, Object: 29 x 21 in.