This high-keyed, optically thrilling painting was the first work by Aspden to be acquired by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It reveals the artist’s genesis in the avant-garde of 1960s Sydney in which a generation of young painters – inspired by contemporary developments abroad, most significantly in the United States – turned to a highly refined and reductive formalism as a new way of thinking about and making art. In this ‘new abstraction’, concerns of subject and social or geographical context were subsumed by the purist, formal qualities of the work.
While Aspden’s early experimentation in the 1960s with shaped canvases, expanses of uniform colour and hard-edged geometic forms gave way to a freer, more painterly style in the 1970s, some elements of his early hard-edge colour-field phase remained. These included his habit of working on a large scale, his fascination with colour and formal relationships within an image, and his interest in the idea of art as an experience, in which the autonomous object had a direct and active relationship with the viewer.
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
152.4 x 244.0 x 2.8 cm stretcher
Signature & date
Signed and dated c. verso, black fibre-tipped pen "ASPDEN 69".
Purchased with funds provided by an anonymous purchase fund for contemporary Australian art 1970
Not on display
© Karen Aspden
Shown in 5 exhibitions
David Aspden (1969), Gallery A (Melbourne), South Yarra, 04 Aug 1969–23 Aug 1969
Hard Edge, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 07 Aug 1999–24 Oct 1999
Australian abstraction 1965-1985: from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 09 Dec 2006–25 Jan 2007
Forcefields, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Feb 2014–14 Sep 2014
Birth of the Cool:
- Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide 17 Jul 2015–18 Sep 2015
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 06 Nov 2015–21 Dec 2015