Mark Liam Smith

Artist statement:
As a colour-blind artist, I long had to rely on my knowledge of colour-mixing formulas to recreate skin tones and other local colours. Later in my practice, I realized that local colours served only to restrict my expression. By viewing my colour-blindness as a strength rather than as a weakness, I have embraced the use of non-local colours to develop my work.
My paintings are visual works of fiction: I create a narrative using shape, colour, and figurative elements. I carefully consider the chromatic and spatial relationships in my paintings to achieve movement and balance, just as an author uses literary devices to advance the plot. I sometimes overlay abstract elements, such as colour blocks and lines, to further enrich the narrative. I invite viewers to bring their personal experiences to the stories that I have painted, to connect with the figurative elements, and to imagine and reimagine new narratives.

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. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Ottawa, where he worked on behalf of the Canadian Department of Defence for several years before returning to his first love: painting.

Since moving to Toronto in early 2015, Mark has been featured by the Toronto Star and the CBC for his artistic achievements, and granted the Emerging Artist Award by the Federation of Canadian Artists. In the summer of 2016, he made his foray into the world of international art fairs by exhibiting at SCOPE Basel in Basel, Switzerland.

Mark is represented by the Rouge Gallery in Saskatoon and the Elaine Fleck Gallery in Toronto.

Mark currently lives and works in Toronto.