Artwork by Gordon Appelbe Smith,  West Coast #2 (1974)

Gordon Smith
West Coast #2 (1974)

acrylic on canvas
signed lower right; signed, titled, inscribed “April” and stamped with the artist’s name on the stretcher; dated 1974 on the gallery label on the reverse
56 x 65 ins ( 142.2 x 165.1 cms )

Sold for $40,120.00
Sale date: November 19th 2019

Provenance:
Marlborough Godard, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Literature:
Roald Nasgaard, Abstract Painting in Canada, Toronto, 2007, pages 134-36
Kevin Griffin, “Adventure and Loss part of Gordon Smith’s ‘black paintings’”, Vancouver Sun, October 27, 2017
One of British Columbia’s most celebrated painters, Gordon Smith has often described himself as being “one hundred artists deep” - referring to his constantly evolving style and 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 inplace.” Smith changed his gestural abstract style abruptly in 1960 to a bright colour palette and hard-edge abstraction. By the following decade, the artist had returned to quasi-figurative subjects, depicting the British Columbian shorelines, such as “West Coast #2”. The acrylic on canvas painting references landscape in its title, while the composition appears to be a combination of varying horizontal bands, each band depicting a detail of a different abstract shoreline landscapes. Simplified images of rock, grass, water and sky are stacked onto one another to suggest a deconstructed shoreline. Nasgaard remarks that “since the mid-1970s Smith has been a consummate painter of the west coast landscape, the edge of the ocean and the depths of the forest, and the lily ponds, working somewhere on the spectrum between the naturalistic and the abstract.”

“It’s part of my life,” Gordon Smith said about painting: “It’s like breathing.” Curator and author Andrew Hunter writes of the one- hundred year-old artist: “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.”

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Gordon Appelbe Smith
(1919) RCA