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 had a string of local, national, and international 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 awarded fifth place in the International Confederation of Art Critics competition. His work has been featured by Hi-Fructose, Booooooom, and Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine, the Toronto Star, and the CBC, among others.
Mark is also represented by the Elaine Fleck Gallery in Toronto and the Rouge Gallery in Saskatoon, Canada.
Mark currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada.
The artists in this homage series served or serve as models for a willingness to reject the world others see—to be blind to that world and to follow their own vision instead. Thus blindness is a metaphor for self-actualization.
The focus of these portraits is the eyes. I have painted these artists blind to show that their vision is not dependent on external world references; they rely on inner vision. It comes from an internal clarity of focus, a singular need to create and express their will.
1991 – 1996 University of Saskatchewan, B.Sc. Physiology
1994 – 1998 University of Saskatchewan, B.A. Linguistics
1997 – 2002 University of Saskatchewan, B.F.A. Painting
2003 – 2005 University of Saskatchewan (transferred to Ph.D.), M.A. Linguistics
2005 – 2008 McGill University, Ph.D. Linguistics (incomplete)
2017 JAN Group exhibition, Galerie Youn, Montreal
2016 OCT Group exhibition, Federation Gallery, Vancouver
2016 SEP Group exhibition, D-Contemporary, London, UK
2016 SEP Group exhibition, Treat Gallery, NYC
2016 JUL Group exhibition, JanKossen Contemporary, NYC
2016 JUN SCOPE Basel, Arte Ponte Gallery, Switzerland
2016 JUN Duo show, Elaine Fleck Gallery, Toronto
2016 MAY Group exhibition, Elaine Fleck Gallery, Toronto
2015 DEC Group exhibition, Elaine Fleck Gallery, Toronto
2015 NOV Group exhibition, The Black Cat Gallery, Toronto
2015 NOV Group exhibition, Project Gallery, Toronto
2015 OCT Group exhibition, Federation Gallery, Vancouver
2015 OCT Group exhibition, Elaine Fleck Gallery, Toronto
2015 JUN Art Battle 298 Toronto Finals, Toronto
2015 MAY Group exhibition, Hashtag Gallery, Toronto
2015 APR Group exhibition, The Black Cat Gallery, Toronto
2015 MAR Group exhibition, Gallery 1313, Toronto
2015 JAN Art Battle 211, Toronto – Winner
2012 – Present Self-Employed, Toronto, Visual Artist
2015 Hi Art Gallery, Toronto, Gallery Assistant
2009 – 2012 Department of National Defence, Ottawa, MTCP Pedagogical Liaison
2008 – 2009 École de Langues de L’Estrie, Ottawa, ESL Teacher
2005 – 2008 McGill University, Montreal, Teaching Assistant (Linguistics)