|August 9, 1999|
Major retrospective of a unique Canterbury artist
Heaven and Blood
Painting and Drawing by Alan Pearson 1959 1999
24 August 31 October 1999
THE LAST EXPRESSIONIST RETROSPECTIVE OF THE 20TH CENTURY
he is a singularly individualistic man with a formidable artistic talent that has set him apart as one of the finest painters in New Zealand art history. (Adrienne Rewi)
Alan Pearson is New Zealands foremost senior expressionist painter and portraitist. Heaven and Blood is the first major retrospective of Pearsons work, and brings together a selection of powerful figurative paintings and drawings produced over the past four decades.
Pearson responds to his subject matter through emotional impressions rather than by representing their physical reality. As a painter he reveals the individual essence of things otherwise masked by surface appearances, suggesting everything through gesture and vibrant colour.
Often Pearsons paintings appear abstract, but there is always an essential figurative element in his work with portraiture making up a substantial body of his painting practise. As Pearson explains, "I have always been interested in portraits - in the spirit, the creation of self and the reasons for time and space Ive always liked to watch people and that has gradually broken into the full figure and then the figure in relation to the land and the universe. His figurative paintings, therefore, have more and more become individual prophetic statements of concern for man in the world - man as the centre of the twentieth century universe, and author of his own destiny.
Originally from Britain, but trained as an artist in New Zealand, Pearson has travelled widely and this experience has been essential to the renewal and revitalisation of his imagery, and has advanced his painting to a unique level in contemporary New Zealand art. He has emerged as an artist of singular expressionistic vision, shunning the directions that have often entrapped others of his generation.
Heaven and Blood also offers that distinctive experience of inviting the visitor to track the development of an artists work, and in the process revealing their personal journey through time. Pearsons superb draughtsmanship and mastery of the art of painting will ensure that those with a passion for paint and colour will be inspired and enthralled by this exhibition.
A short video accompanies the exhibition, along with a well-illustrated publication, containing essays by Cassandra Fusco, Tim Garrity, Alison Pearson, curator Neil Roberts and an interview with the artist.
The Robert McDougall Art Gallery, located in the Botanic Gardens, is the countrys most visited public art gallery featuring regularly changing exhibitions of international and New Zealand historical and contemporary art. The McDougall Contemporary Art Annex , located in the Arts Centre, features changing displays of contemporary art. Both the Gallery and Annex are open daily (except Good Friday and Christmas Day) 10am 4.30pm (summer) and 10am 5.30pm (winter).
B I O G R A P H Y
1959 graduated with a Diploma of Fine Arts from the University of Canterbury
1960 attended Auckland Teachers College
1961 returned to the University of Canterbury and received first class honours in painting
1962 1963 secondary school teacher
1964 travelled to London with a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Scholarship to study at the Royal Academy Schools (1965-1966)
1967 returned to New Zealand and became a designer for Television Two, Auckland
1970 moved back to Christchurch where he taught part-time for several years
1976 on receiving another QEII Arts Council grant he carried out a four month study tour of Europe and Britain, returning to live in Auckland
1978 Pearson began painting full-time and was awarded first prize in the National Bank of New Zealand Portrait Award, he was also the recipient in 1979
1980 lived and painted in Italy with a QEII Assistance Grant, and from 1981-1985 in London making numerous painting trips to Italy, France and Germany
1985 returned to Christchurch and in 1986 was Artist in Residence at Dunedin Public Art Gallery and the Otago Polytechnic
1987 since his return to Canterbury Pearson has continued to live and paint in Lyttelton with trips to Italy in 1988 and Australia in 1989, assisted by the QEII Arts Council
1991 visiting artist at the International Art Workshop in Oamaru
1992 working visits to France, Italy, and Germany; and during 1992, 1995, 1996 to Australia
1993 First artist in Residence at Greymouth Polytechnic
Alan Pearson has regularly exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions in New Zealand and overseas since 1962. He is represented in many major public collections including: Auckland Art Gallery; Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt; Manawatu Art Gallery, Palmerston North; Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch; Aigantighe Gallery, Timaru; Forrester Gallery, Oamaru; Dunedin Public Art Gallery; Hocken Library, University of Otago and the Department of Internal Affairs.
Pearson is also represented in numerous private and corporate collections in Australia, England, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, USA and New Zealand. The National Portrait Gallery, London holds a catalogue of his works.
P U B L I C P R O G R A M M E S
|Floortalk||Alan Pearson will speak on the exhibition.|
|Robert McDougall Art Gallery.|
|11.00am Sunday, 29 August|
|Speaker of the Month||
Pearson will speak on the work of Alan Pearson. Hurst Seager Room, Christchurch Arts
|After Dark: Talk About Art!||Wine and nibbles and a talk about
Robert McDougall Art Gallery. $5.00.
6.00pm Thursday, 30 September