Creekside Grasses No. 1, 2009
British, Canadian, 1919
acrylic on canvas
171 x 216.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 42958)
Gordon Smith has played a significant role in fostering the development of abstract painting in Canada. Working in his adopted city of Vancouver, the artist forged his own approach to abstraction during the 1950s and 1960s in a milieu that was reluctant to receive this form of artistic expression. Allusions to landscape have also been a steady current throughout Smith’s work. His series of forest pool paintings exemplifies his exploration of the tension between landscape and abstraction. With its loose brush work and inverted reflection of the sky, trees and vegetation, "Winter Pond" defies the flatness of the canvas and offers a portal into the hibernal forest landscape neighbouring his British Columbia home. Reflecting the immediacy of the artist’s response to his environment, "Winter Pond" recreates an experience rather than illustrating it.