This project is an exploration into how our brains process experiences and transform them into memories. Each of our memories is its own independent world separate from the actual experience that gave it birth. We never look at the world separate from our experiences. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that we look at the world through the prisms of other worlds that live within us. Each work is a meditation on a specific experience from my life.
Lev's bold photo-paintings are constructed from hundreds of individual photographs that he takes in different parts of the world and then digitally "paints" by blending the separate images into single original limited series photo-paintings. To build his pieces he employs an in-depth Photoshop process that continues to evolve through the course of his career.
Lev's work has been acquired by collectors across United States and Europe, featured in prominent residential projects, and adorns the homes of Hollywood's elite ... and of course his mom and dad.
Lev Gorn was born in the Soviet Union to a Jewish family. His grandfather, David, himself a painter, muralist and sculptor became his first art teacher. In the 1980’s, Lev's family immigrated to the United States and settled in Brooklyn, where Lev went to Yeshiva and then to The High School of Art & Design in Manhattan, and eventually to SUNY Oneonta, where he discovered photography. In his junior year, while on an exchange program at the University of Swansea, Wales, he auditioned for a play on a friend's dare. He got the part and after performing the play at the Edinburgh Theater Festival, Lev immersed himself into a new art form that further deepened his journey as an artist.
Working as an actor in NYC, afforded him to attend the International Center of Photography and become a professional photographer. Some time later, on a film set, Lev met Gabe Fazio and started writing screenplays and making short films. The film-making process opened up another creative avenue and showed Lev how the power of the narrative can transform human perception of an every day moment.
One day, while walking through mid-town Manhattan, he photographed hundreds of people in business suits on their lunch hour. The next day, at the beach, he photographed hundreds of people lounging on the sand. A thought hit him like a ton of bricks - "each scene has its own emotional value - so if I layer an image of the beach over an image of the business crowd would I be creating a new emotional value?"
Lev started experimenting with multiple exposures on 35mm film. He discovered that each seemingly separate moment frozen in his camera is an intersection where the artist's conscious and subconscious worlds simultaneously converged. Taking it a step further, Lev started working in the digital format to create controlled multiple exposures on a single frame. As he fine-tuned his creative process by incorporating Photoshop, he observed that the viewer's experience can be altered by manipulating traditional points of reference with color, form and context.
Lev's multi-layered artworks dilate the viewer's perception of space-time geometry by creating a tension between the artwork's new state of consciousness and the observer. "The way words are created by rearranging individual letters, and then become sentences and paragraphs, and eventually turn into books, similarly, I use photographs, like letters of an alphabet, to compose my works."
In order to preserve the continuity of each project's narrative, Lev works on all of the pieces at the same time. His process resembles a film director's in that he has to maintain the integrity of the preceding and upcoming scenes in relationship to the one he is working on in the moment.
In 2011, Lev conceived a photography project which over the next five years, brought him to India, South America, Portugal, Canada and Iceland, and culminated in a 2016 solo exhibition in NYC. This creative journey profoundly influenced Lev’s style as a visual storyteller.
Lev's career in film and television covers over 50 films and TV series. He has played a number of standout roles in some of the most highly-acclaimed television series, such as the Emmy-award winning “The Americans” in which he played Arkady Ivanovich, and “The Wire”, as Eton Ben Eleazer. Other TV work includes shows like NetFlix Maniac, Showtime Billions, Amazon Jack Ryan, CBS Madam Secretary and numerous others.
He worked with Woody Allen in the famed 2016 comedy “Cafe Society”, opposite Susan Sarandon in “Ace The Case”, in “The Good Shepherd” starring Matt Damon, and in David Rodriguez’s third feature, “Once Upon A Time in Queens”, in which he shared the screen with Michael Rappaport, Paul Sorvino and Chazz Palminteri. Lev’s other films include “Sangre De Mi Sangre” (Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner), “This Teacher”, directed by Independent Spirit Award-winning Mark Jackson, Gregory Segal's "White Knight", shot entirely in the Philippines, and most recently ”Lingua Franca”, directed by Filipino MOMA-featured filmmaker Isabel Sandoval, which is premiering at the Venice Film Festival 2019.
“Joe Mover”, Lev’s first short film, won best short at the Appalachian Film Festival and led to a cash grant from The Doorpost Film Project. His second short film, “Ten: Thirty One”, won the best short prize at the Oldenburg Film Festival and took home the best actress award at the Ourense Independent Film Festival.
The success of “Ten: Thirty One”, the story itself, and the profound connection that audiences had with the character’s inner lives, inspired Lev to co-write the feature screenplay “Get Psycho.” The anticipated film will serve as Lev’s directorial feature film debut. Production starts in Spring 2020.