The Book of Marks


Within each square of a graph paper notebook I have scribbled randomly, collectively suggesting and alien alphabet. Over the course of the spread, designs appear, suggesting the organization of such a foreign symbology.


Mediumink on paper
Date1998 – 2001

Exhibition History

• Gallery 1313 (Toronto), Feb 7 – 27 2001

• Anna Leonowens Gallery (Halifax), Feb 15 – 20 1999

Critical Interpretation

When this was exhibited in 2001, it was accompanied by this text by Gary Michael Dault, The Globe & Mail's resident art critic at the time:

Timothy Comeau’s The Book of Marks is about the grandeur of mark-making and the hubris inherent in our conviction that anyone else will ever understand them. The Book itself is a 192 page graph paper notebook, each square of which the artist had “filled with a mark”. The process, Comeau says, began in 1998. For Comeau, the indeterminate shapes with which he gradually fills his pages are similar to the runic shapes making up the alphabet of a language you do not understand. “The Book of Marks appears to contain a script,” writes Comeau. But if so, it is a script anterior to his ability to read it back. In a Borges story, Comeau’s exotic script would, in fact, turn out to be crystal clear – to someone.