David Aspden

Journey To The Field

2 - 30 June, 2018

exhibition essay

Not many artists get a major exhibition named after one of their paintings, but The Field came out of David's painting Field 1 currently hanging in The Field Revisited at the National Gallery of Victoria.

The Field was a landmark exhibition that shocked many, as no one expected an exhibition of abstract art would open the new NGV. As such many of the young artists included in the show were propelled into the spotlight and David Aspden was one of them.

Aspden was ready for The Field, having steadily developed his work in the years prior with group and solo exhibitions in Sydney with Watters Gallery and Gallery A in Melbourne. It was from this start that he went on to have his works enter many public, corporate and private collections and to be included in public exhibitions like the Sao Paulo Biennale in years soon after.

In this exhibition we have some of Aspden's earliest works, and others made just prior to The Field itself, and through them we can see the path Aspden took on his Journey To The Field. This is a rare glimpse at some of the key works that forged Aspden's career.

In 1995 Aspden contracted tuberculosis and this propelled him to go through his stock of paintings and drawings. He set aside the works that made the cut, and put a knife through the rest.

Like all artists Aspden had moved both house and studio many times and the early works had been with him through it all. Some works had been damaged, and some beyond repair, so the canvasses and boards he chose to keep were those most important to him. He was supported through it all by his wife Karen, and together they gathered the works and made plans for a show in the future. This is that show.

David fortunately lived for another decade so he and Karen had plenty of time to consider his oeuvre and think about his legacy. Thus it has been very exciting to see this body of work come together again. Karen, a trained conservator, has lovingly prepared over many months each canvas for the exhibition, just as she and David envisaged.

C.H, 2018

Not many artists get a major exhibition named after one of their paintings, but The Field came out of David's painting Field 1 currently hanging in The Field Revisited at the National Gallery of Victoria.

The Field was a landmark exhibition that shocked many, as no one expected an exhibition of abstract art would open the new NGV. As such many of the young artists included in the show were propelled into the spotlight and David Aspden was one of them.

Aspden was ready for The Field, having steadily developed his work in the years prior with group and solo exhibitions in Sydney with Watters Gallery and Gallery A in Melbourne. It was from this start that he went on to have his works enter many public, corporate and private collections and to be included in public exhibitions like the Sao Paulo Biennale in years soon after.

In this exhibition we have some of Aspden's earliest works, and others made just prior to The Field itself, and through them we can see the path Aspden took on his Journey To The Field. This is a rare glimpse at some of the key works that forged Aspden's career.

In 1995 Aspden contracted tuberculosis and this propelled him to go through his stock of paintings and drawings. He set aside the works that made the cut, and put a knife through the rest.

Like all artists Aspden had moved both house and studio many times and the early works had been with him through it all. Some works had been damaged, and some beyond repair, so the canvasses and boards he chose to keep were those most important to him. He was supported through it all by his wife Karen, and together they gathered the works and made plans for a show in the future. This is that show.

David fortunately lived for another decade so he and Karen had plenty of time to consider his oeuvre and think about his legacy. Thus it has been very exciting to see this body of work come together again. Karen, a trained conservator, has lovingly prepared over many months each canvas for the exhibition, just as she and David envisaged.

C.H, 2018