Por Hélder Ramos


Esta semana apresentamos mais um artista Português residente no Canadá: Mark Gomes é um consagrado escultor e fotógrafo cujo trabalho mais recente, "Manifest", está em exposição até dia 7 de Junho na Leo Kamen Gallery, 80 Spadina Ave.


Mas qualquer pessoa que tenha passado pela esquina da Bloor St.West e Spadina Ave. em Toronto já teve oportunidade de ver uma escultura de Mark Gomes, e talvez atë de se sentar em cima dela!  A série de bancos em forma de peças de dominó que se encontram nesta esquina de Toronto, é apenas uma das inúmeras comissões com as quais este artista Luso-descendente tem assegurado o rótulo de "senior artist" no mundo da arte contemporãnea Canadiana. Outros locais onde Mark Gomes tem trabalho em exposições permanentes inclui o Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art e o Kelowna Art Gallery, em British Columbia

Fique com esta perspectiva (em Inglês) sobre o trabalho de Mark Gomes por Teresa Ascenção, já conhecida pelos leitores habituais deste espaço, com quem trocamos impressões há umas edições atrás.  Para mais informações sobre a exposição "Manifest" e sobre o trabalho de Mark Gomes, é favor ligar para o 416-504-9515


Mark Gomes, Manifest

by Teresa Ascenção


When Helder Ramos wrote about Mark Gomes to the Voxnova group a couple of weeks ago, I was pleased to find out about yet another fellow Portuguese artist right here my city of Toronto. What was even more interesting, was that once I went to see his work at Leo Kamen gallery this week, I was surprised to find out that Mark Gomes is one of our senior Canadian artists right up there with General Idea, Joyce Wieland, Colette Whiten, John McEwen, John Massey, and Michael Snow. And yet I hadn’t heard of him!

When I first walked into Leo Kamen Gallery I was not aware of Gomes seniority in the Canadian art scene, but I was impressed by how his sculptures and photographs seemed so resolved. From looking at his work I did get a sense that there were years of experience behind the unique language this artist had cultivated, but never realized how established he was.

I experienced Gomes’ sculptures as hybrids of common objects and materials from our daily lives. Although at first glance they were inviting and familiar, on second glance they left me cold. For example, a two-foot cubic box sat on the gallery floor. It had no bottom and was padded on the inside with smoke blue cushions. Cushions on the inside with no way to get in and relax left me with an unwelcome feeling. This piece also had round bar stool seats fixed on top of brittle pressboards that projected out of each side. The seats were so close to the box and so weak that eventually I felt there was no way I could have a comfortable and carefree rest.

Another piece, which hung on the wall horizontally, was constructed from raw brown pegboard and other brown plain materials. It was protected by what looked like long thick bars covered with boxing ring padding. Behind the padded bars was a large circular hole cut through the gallery wall that gave view of the art storage room on the other side. The construction materials seemed so common and familiar, and the opening in the wall an invitation to look through. But there was nothing special on the other side to see - only boxes and art work stored away form view. The padded protection of the thick bars contradicted the desire to look peak through to the other side.

Mark Gomes is a Toronto based commissioned sculptor whose work forms part of extensive permanent collections throughout Canada including the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and a multitude of city galleries and museums.

His art expressed a quiet tension between familiarity and strangeness, as well as between invitation and exclusion. But this is my opinion. Now that I have your curiousity, go see his show before it's closes! This is one artist we should know about. Manifest runs until June 7th at Leo Kaman, 80 Spadina Ave., Toronto, 416-504-9515. Enjoy!