England-born, Toronto-based painter Mark Liam Smith’s figurative scenes are overlayed with abstract shapes and rich colors. His mastery of the latter is even more fascinating when you consider that the artist is colorblind. (Check out the artist’s Instagram page here.) In a statement, Smith talks about how he’s evolved his art and used this condition:
“I long had to rely on my knowledge of colour-mixing formulas to recreate skin tones and other local colours,” he says. “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.”
His series “Imagined Narratives” are stories open for interpretation. Pieces like “In Vino Veritas,” at the top of the page, show how the artist moves between conventional and subversive hues. And Smith’s gift for conveying complex emotions, language, and interaction could be rooted in his studies outside painting, as the artist has a PhD in linguistics, with other degrees in physiology and painting. Smith is currently part of the group show at JanKossen Contemporary in New York City. “FRESH!” features 25 artists, each offering a “take on the ‘contemporary portrait.’” Smith is currently represented by The Elaine Fleck Gallery in Toronto and Rouge Gallery in Saskatoon.