Mark Liam Smith
Mark Liam Smith (b. 1973, Middlesbrough, England) developed an interest in art at an early age and spent much of his childhood drawing obsessively. After completing three bachelor degrees—Fine Arts (Painting), Science (Physiology), and Arts (Linguistics)—at the University of Saskatchewan, he moved to Paris to continue studying art in some of the world’s greatest museums. After some time, he returned to Canada to pursue a Ph.D. in Linguistics at McGill University.
Since moving to Toronto in early 2015, Mark has had several exhibitions, notably in Toronto, London, New York, and at the SCOPE Basel art fair in Switzerland. He has been granted the Emerging Artist Award by the Federation of Canadian Artists and featured by Hi-Fructose, Booooooom, and Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine, among others.
Mark is represented by Galerie Youn (Montreal), Rouge Gallery (Saskatoon), and 19 Karen Contemporary (Gold Coast, Australia).
Mark currently lives and works in Toronto.
This series of paintings, A Day at the Met, examines the subjectivity of perception in art. When we view art, we filter it through our education, experiences, and emotions to derive meaning. An artist's intended meaning will thus have as many nuanced interpretations as there are viewers. This body of work is a meta-statement on the relationship between the artist, the art, and the viewer.
This series was inspired by my observations of people at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I wondered what these people brought to the art they were observing; specifically, how each interpretation was as unique as the viewer. In my paintings, I show what I imagine to be each viewer’s interpretation of the art they are observing by incorporating surreal elements and highly saturated color.
Because I am color-blind, I long had to rely on my knowledge of color-mixing formulas to recreate skin tones and other local colors. Later in my practice, I realized that local colors served only to restrict my expression. By viewing my color-blindness as a strength rather than as a weakness, I began embracing the use of non-local colors to develop my work. I use non-local colors to exaggerate the idea of subjectivity.