ARTPIL Profiles of the Arts
Gordon Smith: The Black Paintings
Through Feb 4, 2018 / Vancouver Art Gallery

Gordon Smith (b. June 18, 1919, Hove, England) is one of Canada’s most influential and compelling painters. His practice spans over seven decades and he continues to paint to this day. Though primarily known as a landscape painter, Smith’s complex oeuvre can be characterized as one of continued, rich and varied artistic exploration. Above all else, at the very core of Smith’s work is a love of painting and paint itself—texture, color, form and brushstroke.

 

Gordon Smith / Tanu, acrylic on canvas, 1995

Beginning in 1990, Smith began producing a body of work described as the black paintings. These works, abstractions often with collaged elements, sometimes refer explicitly to his wartime experience when he was wounded at Pachino Beach in Sicily in 1943. The series marked a departure in Smith’s practice through the use of text, symbolism and personal content, essentially absent elsewhere in his work. Strikingly different from his landscape images, the black paintings have a depth and emotive richness, which reveals itself only with close observation. These are densely painted, darkly abstracted paintings, punctuated with occasional color, text and collaged elements that reveal his ongoing interest in how paint looks and feels and how gesture reverberates when expressed through paint. Smith’s later black paintings see forms abstracted even further as memory and biographical associations are buried within layers of paint. The black paintings lay bare Smith’s notion that “painting should be a re-creation of an experience rather than an illustration of an experience.”

 

Gordon Smith / Pachino 43, acrylic on tarpaulin

Gordon Smith: The Black Paintings
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Ian Thom, Senior Curator-Historical.
Through February 4, 2018 / Vancouver Art Gallery
For more information, please visit the exhibition page >

Recent Articles
DESIGNART Tokyo 2018
Oct 19 – 28, 2018 / Tokyo
Through the recent years, the boundaries between design and art have been…
Through the recent years, the boundaries between design and art have been crossing over, and works surpassing such…
The Post-War Dream / Alessandro Zanoni
A visual journey into the Anthropocene
I spent six weeks in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to document…
I spent six weeks in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to document the transformation of cities in the…
ARTPIL / Prescription .066
The Week in Review
Another hurricane strikes North America. Trump rallies for mid-terms and meets with…
Another hurricane strikes North America. Trump rallies for mid-terms and meets with Rap star. Nikki Haley resigns as…
We Feed the World
Oct 12 - 21, 2018 / Bargehouse Gallery
This is about people, not production lines; farms not factories. This is…
This is about people, not production lines; farms not factories. This is about a farming system that regenerates…
ELEMENTAL / Alejandro Aravena
Oct 11, 2018 – Feb 28, 2019 / Louisiana
This series focuses on a new generation of trendsetters who demonstrate a…
This series focuses on a new generation of trendsetters who demonstrate a paradigm shift: from the prestige projects…
Eva Rothschild: Kosmos
Through Nov 25, 2018 / ACCA
Kosmos brings together new sculptural commissions with recent work spanning the last…
Kosmos brings together new sculptural commissions with recent work spanning the last decade that draw the mind into…
.oeuvre / Raoul De Keyser
Through Jan 27, 2019 / S.M.A.K.
On the basis of paintings, watercolors and drawings, S.M.A.K. presents the first…
On the basis of paintings, watercolors and drawings, S.M.A.K. presents the first posthumous survey of Raoul De Keyser,…
Smoke & Mirrors / Elizaveta Porodina
Through Jan 20, 2019 / Munchner Stadtmuseum
Porodina focuses on the unbridgeable distance that separates her from her fellow…
Porodina focuses on the unbridgeable distance that separates her from her fellow human beings and foregrounds methods of…
Gordon Smith: The Black Paintings
Through Feb 4, 2018 / Vancouver Art Gallery

Gordon Smith (b. June 18, 1919, Hove, England) is one of Canada’s most influential and compelling painters. His practice spans over seven decades and he continues to paint to this day. Though primarily known as a landscape painter, Smith’s complex oeuvre can be characterized as one of continued, rich and varied artistic exploration. Above all else, at the very core of Smith’s work is a love of painting and paint itself—texture, color, form and brushstroke.

 

Gordon Smith / Tanu, acrylic on canvas, 1995

Beginning in 1990, Smith began producing a body of work described as the black paintings. These works, abstractions often with collaged elements, sometimes refer explicitly to his wartime experience when he was wounded at Pachino Beach in Sicily in 1943. The series marked a departure in Smith’s practice through the use of text, symbolism and personal content, essentially absent elsewhere in his work. Strikingly different from his landscape images, the black paintings have a depth and emotive richness, which reveals itself only with close observation. These are densely painted, darkly abstracted paintings, punctuated with occasional color, text and collaged elements that reveal his ongoing interest in how paint looks and feels and how gesture reverberates when expressed through paint. Smith’s later black paintings see forms abstracted even further as memory and biographical associations are buried within layers of paint. The black paintings lay bare Smith’s notion that “painting should be a re-creation of an experience rather than an illustration of an experience.”

 

Gordon Smith / Pachino 43, acrylic on tarpaulin

Gordon Smith: The Black Paintings
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Ian Thom, Senior Curator-Historical.
Through February 4, 2018 / Vancouver Art Gallery
For more information, please visit the exhibition page >