Artwork by Gordon Appelbe Smith,  Abstraction

Gordon Smith

acrylic on canvas
signed lower right
27.25 x 34.5 ins ( 69.2 x 87.6 cms )

Sold for $42,480.00
Sale date: May 29th 2018

Private Collection, Toronto
Kevin Griffin, “Adventure and Loss part of Gordon Smith’s ‘black paintings’”, Vancouver Sun, October 27, 2017
Roald Nasgaard, Abstract Painting in Canada, Toronto, 2007, page 136
“It’s part of my life,” Gordon Smith said about painting: “It’s like breathing.” Curator and author Andrew Hunter writes of Gordon Smith, one of British Columbia’s most celebrated artists: "Smith chose long ago to be a painter, not a writer or a storyteller. He has no desire to explain or justify his decision in words, a language he does not feel allows him to probe the depths of his experience. He deciphers his world and lived experience through the language of painting." Despite the artist’s avoidance of providing explanations of his artwork, Smith’s abstract work is in part self-explanatory, as his style appears to parallel the international post-war movements of the 1950s and 60s. Gordon Smith has often described himself as being "one hundred artists deep" - referring to his constant openness to the influence of other painters. Roald Nasgaard writes that Smith has a “chameleon-like knack for reflecting his time, and yet his paintings over the decades have always surmounted his references by their sheer rootedness in place.”  

Gordon Smith’s “Abstraction” reflects the abstract art tendencies in Canada and the United States that emerged in the 1950s, in the composition’s expressive brushwork and adjoining planes of contrasting colours. Smith claimed as his “greatest liberating experience” the summer he spent in 1951 at the California School of Fine Art in San Francisco. He was inspired by the works of local artists such as Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn, David Park and Bradley Walker Tomlin, and began to explore the physical qualities of paint, surface structure and abstraction as a young painter during the 1950s. Smith changed his style abruptly in 1960 to bright colours and hard-edge abstraction, influenced by the colour theories of Johannes Itten, Josef Albers and Guido Molinari.

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Gordon Appelbe Smith
(1919 - 2020) RCA, Order of Canada