David Tomas is an artist, anthropologist and writer. His production in the visual arts has its roots in a post 1970s critique of conceptual art's disciplinary infrastructure. For the last forty years, Tomas’ work has 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 his writing Tomas has conducted this exploration within a framework in which art is considered to be a discipline that operates in tension with the other disciplines that constitute the university's knowledge matrix. His most recent body of work investigates the nature, function and derivative forms of different configurations of knowledge that are visually deployed in service of the auction house’s primary objective which is to sell something to the highest bidder. For artworks will pass, at one time or another in their history, through the auction system in order to be evaluated and recirculated in society. Tomas' inquiry is being conducted with the objective of pursuing a long-term relationship with that system and its culture through a visual dialogue with one of its principal by-products: the auction catalogue.
Tomas has exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe and the Middle East where he has presented works at the Montreal Biennale (2014); National Gallery of Canada; Walter Phillips Gallery; Vancouver Art Gallery; PS1, New York; California Institute of the Arts; San Francisco State University; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig; Vereinigung Bildender Kunstler Wiener Secession; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe; ELAC, Lyon; Aorta, Amsterdam; and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts.
In 1994-95 he was appointed Mellon Fellow in Contemporary Arts Criticism at the California Institute of the Arts; he was Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1997; and he was awarded the Claudia De Hueck Fellowship in Art and Science at the National Gallery of Canada in 2001-2002.
Tomas is the author of five books, the most recent being Vertov, Snow, Farocki: Machine Vision and the Posthuman (2013), Live rightly, die, die… (2012) and Escape Velocity: Alternative Instruction Prototype for Playing the Knowledge Game (2012). He teaches at l'École des arts visuels et médiatiques, Université du Québec à Montréal.
by . The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader, 2002. New York: Routledge Press, 2002.
by . Fuse, Summer 1995, v. 18, no. 4.
David Tomas: Chemical Skins, 1994. Oakville: Oakville Galleries, 1994.