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Kelly Mark. Sniff
1999 (video still). MSVU Collection.
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(b. 1967, Welland, ON; lives in Toronto, ON)
video, 7 minutes (colour, sound)
Gift of the artist, 2005
Mount Saint Vincent University Collection
Kelly Mark studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before moving to Toronto, where she currently lives and works. She has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally.
Markís studio practice is one of diligence and humour, playfully treating each undertaking as work. To Kelly, everything is interesting and therefore, everything can be art. In her artistís statement, Mark states, I have always had an intense preoccupation with the differing shades of pathos and humour found in the repetitive mundane tasks, routines and rituals of everyday life. Hidden within these spans of time can be found startling moments of poetic individuation, and an imprint of the individual within the commonplace rituals of society. Her work in various media presents the repetitive production strategies of minimal and conceptual art as the props of an obsessional personality.
In 144 White Jars, quantities of staple foods and dime store notions organized around a single formal criterion, present surprising comparisons between the symbolic economy of art collecting and the patterns of subsistence-level consumption. To Mark, it is a matter of principle that her materials and subject matter should be readily accessible. This is also evident in Sniff. Recorded with a stationary camera in one take, Sniff is a typically laconic, low-tech production. Although uncomplicated in appearance, Sniff by no means lacks intellectual depth. It offers a peculiar insight into the mind of the maker, who makes her appearance in the video as the relentless hand that present the objects to be sniffed by her feline companion, Roonie; exploring compulsive activity and repressed emotion.
Once they have been subjected to her repetitious, cumulative, and rigorously controlled process, commonplace events and objects appear to merit curiosity.
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