Midnight

Born Lancashire, England 1935, arrived Australia, 1950, died Sydney 2005


David Aspden’s work came to public attention with exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney in the mid-1960s, and with the award of the Wollongong Drawing Prize in 1963.

While Aspden’s interest in exploring the possibilities of non-representational abstract painting led to the inclusion of his work in the influential survey of colour field painting The Field at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1968, his practice was concerned with a greater questioning of art-making.

The natural world and other fields, particularly music (most notably jazz) were important stimuli for Aspden’s practice. Composition, colour and mark making were employed to convey associations with energies, harmonies and rhythms in works that range from the romantic and poetic to conceptual. The hard edge or geometric and striped paintings made during the 1960s transformed in the 1970s as the artist responded more directly to new interests, often manifesting as complex expressionistic designs and strong colour contrasts.

Exhibiting regularly in Australia since the mid-1960s, Aspden’s work has also been included in international exhibitions including the Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (1971). He exhibited in the Sydney Biennale, Art Gallery of New South Wales (1972) and won the Wynne Prize in 1995. Aspden’s work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and Art Gallery of New South Wales, amongst other state and regional galleries, and corporate and private collections.