Mark Liam Smith

Featured in Looking Glass show, work unavailable

Mark Liam Smith (b. 1973, Middlesbrough, England) is a Toronto-based oil painter interested in art-historic tropes, myth, and narrative. He views his colour-blindness as a strength rather than a weakness by accentuating the use of non-local colours in his work.

Smith’s work has been exhibited in galleries in Montreal, Toronto, London, and New York, and at art fairs such as SCOPE Basel, Art Seattle, Art Toronto, Papier in Montreal, and Toronto Edition. He has been granted the Emerging Artist Award by the Federation of Canadian Artists and two Ontario Arts Council grants. His art has been featured in BuzzfeedUK, The Jealous Curator, the Toronto Star, Hi-Fructose, Booooooom, and Create! Magazine, among others.

Mark is represented by Galerie Youn in Montreal, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace in the Gold Coast, Australia, and Rouge Gallery in Saskatoon.

“My work re-examines 17th-century Flemish floral still life painting. I am drawn to this genre of painting for its inherent beauty and symbolism: flowers representing the life cycle, accoutrements pointing to scarcity, drama, the inevitability of death. For me, within each painting is contained a rich narrative that broaches questions from the mundane to the existential.

Though the themes are universal, the way I express them on the canvas is personal. I am colourblind, which means I have difficulty matching colours on the palette to their real-life referents. Early in my career, I attempted to paint my compositions using local colours. Over the years, however, I have come to view my colour blindness not as a deficiency, but rather as a difference. As a result, I use a hyperchromatic palette in lieu of a local one, creating bouquets and memento mori that, hopefully, build on the tradition of floral still life painting.”


Title: Red Roses in a Vase
Dimensions: 14″ x 11″
Medium: oil on panel

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