LOT 003

1909 - 1976

Ship Shapes & Signals
oil on burlap on board
signed and on verso titled and dated 1953 on the gallery labels
11 1/8 x 21 7/8 in, 28.3 x 55.6 cm

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

Sold for: $52,250

Preview at:

Kastel Gallery, Montreal
Heffel Gallery Limited, Vancouver
Acquired from the above by the present Private Collection, Vancouver

Doreen E. Walker, B.C. Binning: A Retrospective, Fine Arts Gallery, University of British Columbia, 1973, page 12

B.C. Binning was a key figure in the modernist scene in Vancouver, as both an artist and an educator at the University of British Columbia, where he helped to establish the Department of Fine Arts. His work, drawn from nautical West Coast themes, was both lyrical and classical. Doreen Walker commented:

“In [Binning’s] works, brightly coloured nautical forms are used as basis for imaginative inventions. Abstracted anchors, towers, navigation devices, weather stations and pennants become geometric motifs; and linear rigging forms a counterpoint to coloured masses…Miróesque and Klee-like qualities have been attributed to Binning’s seascapes of the fifties, and in his use of wiry line and ‘playfulness’ and fantasy, such affinities may be found. ‘I like Klee and Miró,’ the artist acknowledged, and ‘one unconsciously makes a little repertoire of what one likes.’ ”

Binning often used burlap as his support in the 1950s, possibly derived from his experience with wooden sailboats, which used raw fibres (he had his own boat, the Skookumchuck). Burlap formed a background grid for his geometric lines and shapes, adding a textural element and acting as an abstract background. Ship Shapes & Signals is an exceptional work, in which nautical symbols array themselves side by side; they radiate an energy that is barely contained by Binning’s expert, balanced arrangement of these elements along a conceptual ocean horizon.

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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