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An image of Black music by David Aspden

David Aspden

(Australia, England 01 May 1935 – 26 Jun 2005)

Black music
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

150.0 x 244.0 cm stretcher

Signature & date
Signed and dated u.l. corner verso, red fibre-tipped pen "DAVID ASPDEN/ .../ 1995".
D G Wilson Bequest Fund 2004
Accession number
© Karen Aspden
Not on display
Further information

Late in his career Aspden reasserted the centrality of colour and music to his work, describing the synaesthetic relationship between them as the core of his practice. He referred to colour in musical terms – harmony, variation and discord – and associated it with nature and landscape:

'What are the colours of music? … I am challenged by the colours that can be found in the air, wind and weather, as well as the more easily recognisable colours in the tangible world of nature.'

In a brief handwritten note about this painting, Aspden asserted that ‘… (it refers) to Australia – to Aboriginal sounds’, although he had no knowledge of Indigenous music as such. Rather, the work should be seen as part of Aspden’s ongoing struggle to respond to place, evident since the early 1980s, when he sought to understand his work and himself as an Australian artist.

Bibliography (5)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2005, Sydney, 2005, 17-18, 63.

John McDonald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Especially for hue', pg. 28-29, Sydney, 16 Jul 2005-17 Jul 2005, 28, 29.

John McDonald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Harmonious effects', pg. 14-15, Sydney, 13 Aug 2011-14 Aug 2011, 14. Article appears in 'Spectrum' supplement.

Anne Ryan, David Aspden: the colour of music and place, 'David Aspden: the colour of music and place', pg. 6-11, Sydney, 2011, 9, 10, 64-65 (colour illus.), 83, 89. The reference on pg. 83 is to the related painting 'Seasons of drought'.

Alan Sisley, David Aspden: A celebration of colour, Orange, 2002, (colour illus.). unpaginated

Exhibition history (1)

David Aspden: A celebration of colour (2004), Orange Regional Gallery, Australia, 21 Jul 2004