The Art of Allan Markman

B&H Presentation

The Lathe of Time

ALLAN MARKMAN was formally trained as a sculptor, ceramicist, and painter at Queens College, where he studied with such artists as Richard Serra, Charles Cajori, and Jolyn Hofstead. After a career as an art director for the United Nations, designing award-winning posters and promotions, he’s devoted himself full time to fine art photography. His images always start as an ephemeral small sculpture (between 2 and 12 inches wide at most) that is assembled, photographed and then by necessity dismantled, because the natural materials used begin to decay.

The source of Markman’s photographs is the detritus we so often ignore, abandoned tools, rusted machinery, weathered wood or stones. During this process he is always aware that ultimately the image will be viewed in two dimensions — that the eye must be engaged on a flat surface. His photographs often marry disparate worlds: the organic with the mechanical, inanimate stones with floral cascades, tiny berries with massive blocks of slate. Composition, color, line, rhythm and texture call upon his skills as a painter, sculptor, and graphic designer. In the end he bathes his small still lifes in a soft and mysterious light, infusing the photograph with poignant beauty and emotion. The small scale sculptures he has patiently yet intensely assembled assume an almost surreal proportion in his large photographs. Tiny seashells become amphitheaters, ancient stones become building edifices, time-worn fragments of driftwood become large totems, and glass marbles become luminous planets. In short, Allan Markman is a modern-day alchemist, transforming the commonplace and prosaic into the sublime and poetic.


Some time ago Allan was paging through People magazine in his doctor’s waiting room. It struck him that most of the ads were directed towards “older” people. When he shared this impression with the doctor and she replied, “Doesn’t surprise me at all. My teenage daughter and her friends don’t do paper.” He was taken aback — Don’t do paper!? So much was revealed in that casual statement. Could it be that there is a whole generation that does not read books? Do they only absorb digital content through their assorted devices? This series is Allan's homage to “doing paper”, that is, reading and treasuring books—particularly old books. Their texture, off white color, fragility, typography and even their smell can somehow impart infinitely more than mere content.

The Flood

In a metaphorical post apocalyptic dream-scape our hero travels through a flooded world on an improbable makeshift raft. These travels provide a glimpse of a dystopian society where something has gone horribly wrong. People have adapted in unexpected ways — cars are now ritualistically pushed into the river; apartments completely submerged under the water still have their lights on. Are they airtight and do people still live there somehow? A young girl is still transfixed by her cell phone. The elites enjoy their pleasures on protected high ground.

Artist Background

• University fine art degree with a concentration on ceramic sculpture and painting.

• Formerly the Art Director of the Graphic Design Department at the United Nations in New York • Now devotes himself full time to fine art photography.

• Author/designer of the book of photographs- Door Jams: Amazing Doors of New York City

• Group show of United Nations poster designs - Carriage House Center for Arts, New York.

• Member of Soho Photo Gallery Cooperative

• Now available on Artsy

• Lives in New York with his family.

Shows and competitions :

• The Photo Place Gallery, Middlebury, VT, Group Show -Sept. 22, 2022

• SohoPhoto Gallery, The Lathe of Time 3.0, NYC Sept. 14 - October 9, 2022

• The Lathe of Time 2.0, Oct. 15 - Nov. 7 2021, NYC

• The Lathe of Time 2.0, Oct. 15 - Nov. 7 2021, NYC

Locust Grove Estate, Sept 30  - 1 Dec. 1 2019, Poughkeepsie, NY

• SE Center for Photography, Greenville, SC, Group Show - March 2019

• SohoPhoto Gallery, The Lathe of Time, NYC - May 2019

Shelter Rock Art Gallery, Manhasset, NY (solo) October 28- November 27, 2018

Now available on Artsy

5th Biennial of Fine Art & Documentary Photography, Barcelona - October 2018

SohoPhoto Gallery, NYC - September 2018

SE Center for Photography, Greenville, SC, Group Show - August 2018

• A Smith Gallery, Johnson City, TX, Group Show- June 2018

Slide show and talk at B&H Event Space (starts at 2:00), Spring 2018

• The Photo Place Gallery, Middlebury, VT, Group Show - April 2018

• SohoPhoto Gallery, NYC - September, 2017

• Critical Mass Photolucida competition, 2016 and 2017- Finalist

• Proify International Competition, 2016 - First Place-Macro

• Sohn Gallery - Lenox, MA - May and August, 2016


These beautifully arranged, lit and photographed still-lifes of tiny found objects are sublime! There is so much to look at and discover, so much awe and beauty in these tiny overlooked objects. There is an 'Alice in Wonderland' sensibility to this for me.. not just because of the scale, but the surreal imagery: With a nod to such a traditional art genre, at first glance these photos feel 'familiar' but as I look closer, I am seeing 'unfamiliar' objects in such a setting. Yet, as I look again, I realize they are in fact very familiar objects...just ones I never really looked at before. -Hava Gurevich — Artist, reviewer, gallerist

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