VOX — Centre de l’image contemporaine

David Tomas

Portrait of David Tomas
View of David Tomas performing in Photography: A Word, 1983. Photo: Benny Chou.

David Tomas (1950-2019) was born in Montréal in 1950, but spent part of his childhood and adolescence in London, England. In the early 1970s, he studied in fine arts (majoring in painting) at the City and Guilds of London Art School. In 1973, once he had received his diploma, he returned to Canada to pursue a master’s degree (MFA) at Concordia University, in Montréal.

David Tomas was an artist and anthropologist. His production in the visual and media arts has its roots in a post  1970s critique of neo academic practices and engages with conceptual art’s disciplinary infrastructure. From the late 1970s, Tomas’s work explored the nature and functions of different forms of knowledge that are produced at the interface of the history of contemporary art, the history and anthropology of media and the cultures and transcultures of imaging technologies. Both in his visual work and in his writings, Tomas conducted this exploration within a conceptual framework in which art operates in tension with the other disciplines that constitute the university’s knowledge matrix. His most recent body of work investigates these questions and tensions from the point of view of the relationships between exhibition modes and non-conventional and post institutional practices. Tomas has also produced theoretical texts and books on the university, intercultural contact spaces, photography, new technologies and media arts.

Tomas exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe and the Middle East. He was a Mellon Fellow at the California Institute of the Arts (1994-1995) and Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1997. He was professor at the University of Ottawa (1989-1999) and at l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques, Université du Québec à Montréal (1999-2019).


[Source: VOX, 2024]

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