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Mark Rawlinson

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

Born Stockport, England, 1970. Worked as a Civil Servant between 1988 - 1995. Studied for BA (Hons) Humanities (Accelerated Route) at Nottingham Trent 1995-1997 (1st Class). MA Critical Theory at University of Nottingham 1997-1998 (Merit). PhD (School of American and Canadian Studies/Postgraduate School of Critical Theory) 1998-2002. Whilst working on the PhD, I worked as a sessional lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, University of Nottingham and the University of Leicester. In 2006, I joined the Department of History of Art at Nottingham as a permanent Lecturer. In 2012 I became Associate Professor in History of Art, as well we Head of Department (2012-2015) and Graduate School Associate Dean [Arts Faculty] (2012-2015). I regularly collaborate with artists, photographers, and film-makers (Marek Tobolewski, Leo Asemota, Jeff Brouws, Travis Shaffer, Kirk Palmer), and curated an exhibition of American photography, And Now it's Dark (featuring the work of Brouws, Will Steacy, Todd Hido, Rene Burri, William Klein and Jack Delano). Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, 2014; Diffusion Photography Festival, Cardiff, October 2015.

Expertise Summary

My research and teaching focuses on the development of American art, photography, visual culture of 20th and 21st Centuries as well as critical and photographic theory. I am particularly interested in the ways photography has influenced art and artists, as well as the impact of modernism and conceptual art practices on serious photography during this period. I have written on early American Modernism, Charles Sheeler: Modernism, Precisionism and the Borders of Abstraction (IB Tauris: 2007), as well as the development of American Visual Culture (American Visual Culture (Bloomsbury, 2009). I have written about Ed Ruscha and Artist's Books (Various Small Books, MIT 2013), photographers Robert Adams (in Reframing the New Topographics, University of Chicago Press) and Stephen Shore (forthcoming Culture and Photography), and am presently researching and writing a monograph about New Topographics photography.

Since 2014, I have been part of the China Cultural Visiting Hub (CCVH) ; the work of this group is to identify and engage in new research as well as knowledge exchange with, in my case, the museum and galleries sector in China. My main focus here has been to develop a series of Masterclasses in collaboration with the V&A for Chinese museum and gallery professionals; a project that is ongoing.

I have a long standing interest in critical and visual theory, especially Theodor Adorno, but am also interested in the work of Freud, Deleuze, Bataille and Derrida.

PhD Supervision

I would welcome proposals that relate to any aspect of 20th century American art, especially early American modernism, American photography, visual culture, and critical/visual theory.

Teaching Summary

My teaching is focused upon American art, photography and visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries, and draws upon visual, critical and aesthetic theory.

Research Summary

I am working on issues surrounding 'New Topographics' photography; so I've been researching the history of American photography leading up to 'New Topographics' and also what's happened since. The… read more

Recent Publications

  • MARK RAWLINSON, 2017. Stephen Shore's Uncommon Seriality Photography and Culture. (In Press.)
  • RAWLINSON, M., 2013. "Like trading dust for oranges”: Ed Ruscha and things of interest. In: BROUWS, J., BURTON, W. and ZSCHIEGNER, H., eds., Various small books: referencing various small books by Ed Ruscha Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 8-27
  • RAWLINSON, M., 2010. Disconsolate and inconsolable: neutrality and new topographics. In: FOSTER-RICE, G. and ROHRBACH, J., eds., Reframing the new topographics Centre for American Places at Columbia College Chicago. 121-187
  • RAWLINSON, MARK, 2010. Marek Tobolewski: Taking a Line (Exhibition Catalogue Essay) Marek Tobolewski: Continuum in Symmetry, exhibition catalogue essay, Nottingham: Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre At: Nottingham: Djanogly Art Gallery

Current Research

I am working on issues surrounding 'New Topographics' photography; so I've been researching the history of American photography leading up to 'New Topographics' and also what's happened since. The debates about photography after conceptual art have also got me wondering about photography BEFORE conceptual art . It is fair to say 'New Topographics' is now considered a pivotal moment in photography generally - although no-one really noticed the original show at the time - which has set me wondering: how pivotal is NT really? What are the conceptual and historical grounds for NT, and do they make sense? Plus, what else was going on at the time (and long before) and which photographers were simply overlooked then (and, of course, now). To make sense of a lot of information - photographers, galleries, dealers, movements, even technical developments - I've become interested in Network Theory and Social Network Analysis as a means to help map this terrain; I am planning to translate all this material into a visualized three-dimensional digital 'map', too. I am still working on Sheeler, especially his late work and how it relates to the American experience of WWII; I'm also writing a piece on his 'domesticated modernism' as a contribution to the 'The Everyday in American Visual Culture' edited book I'm working on with John Fagg (for University of Liverpool Press).

Past Research

My PhD thesis, 'Charles Sheeler and the Dissenting Line: An Adornian Critique' (Supervisor: Professor Douglas Tallack, School of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham), we revised an appeared as 'Charles Sheeler: modernism, precisionism and the borders of abstraction' with IB Tauris in 2007. Sheeler remains readily associated with Precisionism but his work is more contentious and radical than this category has ever conceived. Precisionist criticism sees Sheeler through too narrow a focus - a machine age aesthetic - and argues harmony - whether between painting and photography, realism and abstraction, the past and the present - is the best measure of the artist's most successful work (around 1931). The thesis/book argues against this reductionist perspective, drawing on Theodor Adorno's aesthetic theory, in order to consider dissonance - the dissenting lines in Sheeler's so called precisionism - as an absolutely crucial feature of his work; even those works presumed to epitomise harmony - e.g.Home, Sweet Home - are actually visual essays in dissonance. The thesis argues that dissonance in Sheeler reveals the artist as not quite so at home with American modernity or with modernism but that this is what marks out his work as radical and important.

The Sheeler book is to a degree engaged with American exceptionalism, and my second monograph, American Visual Culture is a hybrid-text, combining original research with theoretical exegesis. The text explores and explains the visualisation of American exceptionalist ideology-from Westward Expansion to the millennium marking 'American Century' exhibitions-through a variety of theoretical approaches and across media: art and exhibitions, posters, movies and television, war and lynching photography, advertising and magazine illustration

  • MARK RAWLINSON, 2017. Stephen Shore's Uncommon Seriality Photography and Culture. (In Press.)
  • RAWLINSON, M., 2013. "Like trading dust for oranges”: Ed Ruscha and things of interest. In: BROUWS, J., BURTON, W. and ZSCHIEGNER, H., eds., Various small books: referencing various small books by Ed Ruscha Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 8-27
  • RAWLINSON, M., 2010. Disconsolate and inconsolable: neutrality and new topographics. In: FOSTER-RICE, G. and ROHRBACH, J., eds., Reframing the new topographics Centre for American Places at Columbia College Chicago. 121-187
  • RAWLINSON, MARK, 2010. Marek Tobolewski: Taking a Line (Exhibition Catalogue Essay) Marek Tobolewski: Continuum in Symmetry, exhibition catalogue essay, Nottingham: Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre At: Nottingham: Djanogly Art Gallery
  • RAWLINSON, MARK, 2010. ‘Let the People Choose: Travis Shaffer’s Residential Façades’ (exhibition catalogue essay) At: Institute 193, Lexington, Kentucky, USA (In Press.)
  • RAWLINSON, M., 2010. 'Out of sight' (exhibition catalogue essay) for Jeff Brouws, After Trinity: the remnants and realities of America’s nuclear landscape, Tony Tapies Gallery, Barcelona At: Published exhibition catalogue
  • RAWLINSON, M.S., 2009. American visual culture Berg.
  • RAWLINSON, M.S., 2007. Charles Sheeler: Modernism, Precisionism and the Borders of Abstraction London: I.B.Tauris.
  • RAWLINSON, M.S., 2006. Charles Sheeler: Musing on Primitiveness Thresholds. 62-65
  • RAWLINSON, M., 2006. Deceptive Allegories Art Book. VOL 13(NUMBER 2), 12-14
  • RAWLINSON, M., 2004. Charles Sheeler's imprecise precisionism Comparative American Studies. VOL 2(NUMB 4), 470-486

Department of History of Art

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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