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Peter Aspell

Gallery Jones
Vancouver BC – Oct 2-30, 2007

Peter Aspell - The Little Clown

Peter Aspell, The Little Clown (2003), oil on museum board [Gallery Jones, Vancouver BC, Oct 2-30]

Peter Aspell (1918 – 2004) was a much beloved painter born in Vancouver, BC. Although Aspell is usually described as a figurative painter, his style ranged from the robotic to the sensuous, from pure abstraction to pictographic, with saturated colours described by Gary Michael Dault as “a lifelong sojourn in chromatic voluptuousness.”

In his portraits and figures, Aspell distilled from movement and expression “the hidden workings of the soul.”  His work is filled with historical and literary references, allegories and myths, homages to artists like Max Beckmann, Jean Dubuffet, Fernand Léger, Francis Picabia and Pablo Picasso. They are, as Dault put it, “fresh and fecund, sociologically and mythologically acute.” At times, the imagery is comedic and clown-like; at other, dark and haunting. He was a complete original who invented a repertoire of voices and symbolism. Joy, despair, lust, greed, exaltation – they run the gamut of human expression and experience. If his paintings were to talk, there would be a cacophony.

Aspell taught at the Vancouver School of Art between 1948-1970 and the Peter Aspell School of Art from 1970–1978. His work is collected by the National Gallery of Canada, Hamilton Art Gallery, Imperial Oil Company Of Canada, Kelowna Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Art Gallery, among others.


Mia Johnson

 Sun, Sep 2, 2007