GORDON APPELBE SMITH, R.C.A.
Private Collection, British Columbia
Ian M. Thom, Gordon Smith: The Act of Painting, Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver and Toronto, 1997, pages 22-23.
Building upon the geometric tendencies of his previous work, Gordon Smith’s (b.1919) paintings from the 1970s are inspired by his walks along west coast beaches. In these works, he pictures a simplified landscape view through blocked sections, visible brushstrokes and layered paint to suggest the play of light and shadow, despite emphasizing the flatness of the picture plane. This lot epitomizes this semi-abstract aesthetic, where the horizontal bands, textured surfaces and treatment of paint doubly suggest a seawall landscape while also accentuating his contemplation with the formal issues of painting itself. Smith’s work at this time conforms to his mandate of “abstraction going towards nature rather than nature going towards abstraction”, which views the act and fact of paint on canvas, rather than the subject matter, with greater importance.