Dr. Hilary Letwin, of the West Vancouver Art Museum, will explore the life and work of Gordon Appelbe Smith, looking at some of his most important work and the way in which his experiences and friendships impacted his art. Born in England in 1919, Smith lived in West Vancouver from 1953 until his death in 2020. He studied art at the Winnipeg School of Art from 1937 to 1940. He moved to Vancouver in 1944, after fighting in the Second World War, and attended the Vancouver School of Art to complete his degree, teaching there from 1947-1949. He moved to San Francisco for a year in 1951, where he studied with Elmer Bischoff and Mark Rothko. From 1956 to 1982, he taught at the University of British Columbia, traveling frequently to Europe and exhibiting in Canada and abroad. He received many awards and honors including the Order of Canada in 1996, the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts in 2006, and the Governor General’s Award in the Visual and Media Arts in 2009. His artistic influences were rich and varied, and his work was sometimes figural and at other times, very abstract. He often referred to his paintings as a “mysterious struggle with chance”, a reference to Francis Bacon, an artist whom he deeply admired.
Hilary Letwin is Museum Administrator/Curator at the West Vancouver Art Museum. She holds a PhD in Art History from Johns Hopkins University. Letwin has held curatorial fellowships at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the British Museum, and has worked at the Burnaby Art Gallery, the Richmond Art Gallery, and the Seymour Art Gallery. Recent exhibitions that she has curated include Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: Genius Loci (2021); Saints, Sinners and Souvenirs: Italian Masterworks on Paper (2019) and Talk of the Town: Molly Lamb Bobak (2018).
A Mysterious Struggle with Chance: Gordon Smith
November 22, 2022 – 7:30pm
Kay Meek Arts Centre, McEwen Theatre
1700 Mathers Avenue
West Vancouver, BC
Presented by the West Vancouver Art Museum
with the Kay Meek Arts Centre