We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Mort Bay



David Aspden

England, Australia

01 May 1935 – 26 Jun 2005

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    156.5 x 115.0 cm stretcher; 160.2 x 118.6 x 6.5 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of the H.G. Slater Foundation 1984
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Karen Aspden

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    David Aspden

    Works in the collection


  • About

    At the time this work was made, Aspden was living in Balmain, from which the title Mort Bay is taken. A visit to northern India in 1982 brought a new freedom of approach to his work, resulting in strongly gestural paintings of free-form shapes in exuberant colours. Black (which Aspden regarded as a colour) and cream were introduced as a new counterpoint – connected in part to the fire-blackened trees of Arnhem Land and the burning ghats he had witnessed in India.

    At around this time Aspden began using as his monogram a small triangle, derived from the characteristic roof-front shape of the Haus Tambaran – a type of traditional ancestral worship house that he encountered in Papua New Guinea in 1981.

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Anne Ryan, David Aspden: the colour of music and place, 'David Aspden: the colour of music and place', pg. 6-11, Sydney, 2011, 9, 59 (colour illus.), 83, 88. pg. 9 reference refers to Balmain, which is where Mort Bay is located.

Other works by David Aspden

See all 70 works