Mark Steven Greenfield was born in Los Angeles. His practice focuses on with the complexities of the African American experience in contemporary society, often alluding to the process by which images are formed in the subconscious. Through his work, Greenfield explores the psychological dimension of African American stereotypes—as embodied in blackface minstrelsy and black cartoon characters from the 1930s and 1940s. This focus has broadened to include an exploration of dualities in contemporary society, utilizing references to the African spiritual practices of the Eguns and tropes that refer to positive and negative energies in a process dependent on a methodology akin to automatic writing; where line becomes positive energy in an interplay with negative space to create a neutral field.
Greenfield studied under Charles White and John Riddle at the Otis Art Institute—in a program sponsored by the Golden State Life Insurance Company—and went on to receive a BA in art education in 1973 from California State University (Long Beach) and a MFA in painting and drawing from California State University (Los Angeles) in 1987. From 1993 to 2010 he was an arts administrator for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; first as the director of the Watts Towers Arts Center and the Towers of Simon Rodia and later as the director of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. In 1997 he also joined the faculty at Los Angeles City College, where he continues to teach courses in Drawing and Design. In 1998 he served as the head of the United States delegation at the World Cup Cultural Festival in Paris and in 2002 he was part of the Getty Visiting Scholars program. He has served on the boards of the Downtown Arts Development Association, the Korean American Museum, The Armory Center for the Arts, and is former president of the Los Angeles Art Association/Gallery 825. He is currently a visiting professor at the California Institute of the Arts.
Greenfield is a recipient of the LA Artcore Crystal Award (2006), the Los Angeles Artist Laboratory Fellowship Grant (2011), the City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship (COLA 2012), The California Community Foundation Artist Fellowship (2012), and the Instituto Sacatar Artist Residency in Salvador, Brazil (2013). His work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, and the California African American Museum. Internationally he has exhibited at the Chiang Mai Art Museum in Thailand, at Art 1307 in Italy, and the Gang Dong Art Center in Seoul, South Korea.
Artist’s website: markstevengreenfield.com