Diaz Contemporary is pleased to present new work by Kelly Mark, in her first exhibition with the gallery. For years, Mark has been known for her witty critiques and wry sense of humour. Influenced by minimalism and conceptualism, Mark explores themes related to work, repetitive labour, and time. Her work often focuses on the banal facets of everyday life, and comments on contemporary culture.
In this exhibition of primarily new work, Mark presents drawings, text pieces, video- and light-based works. In a series of new letraset drawings, Mark employs this long-outdated desktop publishing tool to create elaborate designs in black and white. Ranging from abstract to semi-representational, these drawings contain formal depth: some even seem to inch away from the page, towards the viewer. Made by transferring thousands of tiny letters and symbols onto paper, Mark’s process in creating this series is a tedious one, and recalls her obsession with the repetition of mundane tasks.
On the other side of the main gallery, several light- and text-based works comment on hard work (or lack thereof), repetition, and contemporary urban culture. Mark may poke fun of her surroundings, but that doesn’t preclude her from making fun of herself as well. In one of the show’s larger works, she presents the phrase “NOTHING IS SO IMPORTANT THAT IT NEEDS TO BE MADE IN SIX FOOT NEON” – in six foot neon. This self-reflexive, self-deprecating humour is common in Mark’s work, and can be found throughout this exhibition.
Toronto-based Kelly Mark received her BFA in 1994 at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. She has exhibited widely across Canada and internationally at venues including the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), The Power Plant (Toronto), Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), Musée d'Art Contemporain (Montreal), Henry Art Gallery (Seattle), Bass Museum (Miami), Ikon Gallery (UK), Lisson Gallery (UK), and the Physics Room (NZ). Mark represented Canada at the Liverpool Biennale in 2006 and the Sydney Biennale in 1998. She is a recipient of numerous Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council grants, as well as the KM Hunter Artist Award (2002), and Chalmers Art Fellowship (2002).
Kelly Mark gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.