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Peter Aspell

Born in Vancouver, B.C., in 1918, artist Peter Aspell was known for developing his own style that explored expressionism, surrealism and iconoclasm using masterfully complex colour ways to evoke commentary on the human condition. A passionate and determined artist, Aspell found great acclaim as both an artist and educator in Vancouver and beyond.

After graduating from the Vancouver School of Art and the Académie de Ghent in Belgium, Aspell taught in Vancouver, first returning to the Vancouver School of Art, now Emily Carr University, from 1948 – 1970, before developing the Peter Aspell School of Art which he operated from 1970 to 1978. Teaching alongside artistic greats such as Gordon Smith and Jack Shadbolt, Aspell continued to evolve his works transforming the traditional and intentionally bordering on controversial as a way to incite heightened viewer engagement. Favouring oil paint on either board or canvas provided Aspell a medium with which he could capture the drama and intricacies of his vast body of work which included portraiture, still lifes, nudes, landscapes, figurative, and religious worship and ritual motifs.

Aspell participated in numerous solo and group shows, such as the 1943 B.C. Society of Fine Art’s annual exhibition, the Seattle Art Museum’s annual Northwest Artists exhibition in 1956 and a solo show at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1955, among others. Heralded as one of Vancouver’s most distinguished artists, Aspell continued to exhibit up until his death in 2004. His works continue to be held and shown in galleries across the country.

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