Monday, 7 August 2017

Developments at the Dave Pearson Trust...and an intern.


Since the last blog work at the Dave Pearson Studio has developed significantly in several ways. First, the Trust has agreed on a deadline of 31st March 2018 to wind-up itself up. At that point all of the remaining paintings and other art works will be returned to Dave's son Chris (though physically they'll stay at the studio). For more on the reasons behind this read the January 2017 blog. In the short/medium term there won't be too many changes as Bob Frith will continue to oversee things at the studio (Bob is, in any case, the landlord), and he will continue to be helped by Ella Cole. But this change of legal status is clearly a turning point, and in the longer term there's no doubt that the Dave Pearson estate will almost certainly find fresh ways of maintaining Dave's work and developing his reputation.

Next, over the past few weeks we've been joined by Caitlin Stracey (above) who is helping us out for a day or two each week. Caitlin has arrived at a good time, as we're busy reorganising things for a number of reasons  Initially in order to create space for the Apna to have their own office space in addition to our own:


We've also started to archive certain works, mainly sketches and preparatory drawings, so as to create more space in which to show finished pieces. We feel confident to do this because Ella is now very close to completing the cataloguing of the work that we have in the studio. As a result we're better able to take an over-view of all of Dave's work and make decisions on which pieces should be archived, and which should stay visible and shown publicly - both in exhibitions, as well as to potential buyers.



Once the cataloguing at the studio is complete, there's still the little matter for Ella of cataloguing the work that remains at Chris Pearson's house, just along Manchester Road. This could easily amount to another thousand artworks.

Finally, to say that Arry Nessa, who manages Apna (which now occupies the downstairs front room) is in the final stages of doing her own organising - of the On-Paper Festival, which is partly based in our premises. It's good to feel that the building now has a double creative focus, and the Apna room will be used for a wide-range of activities from lantern making to paper-cut workshops and mindfulness.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Self portraits

Ella has finally completed recording Dave's self-portraits - after adding 183 new pieces to the catalogue. 


There's a range of paintings in sizes from one 130cm square canvas, down to a variety of smaller oil paintings of about 25 by 30cms and upwards: 



Most are expressionist in style and brushwork but when these were done is a bit of a mystery. Our guess is that mostly they were painted during the 1990s, based mainly on the evidence of what age Dave looks in them. Whether they were done as one intensive series, or whether they were paintings undertaken in-between creating other works isn't clear.





Monday, 15 May 2017

Dave Pearson at the Bridgeman Art Library


One of the things that has taken us longer to achieve than originally planned has been to establish a link between the Dave Pearson Trust and the Bridgeman Art Library. Edward Lucie-Smith first put us in touch with the Bridgeman several years ago and since then we've rather struggled to get together the necessary high-quality images which we could submit to them. 

Now, at last, Ella and I have managed to send a selection to the Bridgeman and we're pleased to say that they have now created a page for Dave Pearson within their Art Library website. It means that copies of the selected painting scan be bought as prints from the Art Library to be used in publications, and proper copyright payments and credits will be awarded to our Trust. 

Below is a sample of a page from the Bridgeman. To look further go to https://www.bridgemanimages.com/en-GB/ and enter 'Dave Pearson' into their search engine. It includes tags to help organisations looking for a suitable image to narrow their search, and a lightbox facility to look at the artwork properly. 


Now we've managed to put a small number of Dave Pearson's images into the library, we hope to expand the number as high quality photographs become available. 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Calendar Customs notebooks



For a long time I've been meaning to take a closer look at 11 Daler Calendar Customs sketchbooks that Dave left - 5 A5 and 6 A4 sizes. The Trust discovered many sketchbooks and notebooks, but these 11 are different as they are well organised and all of a kind. Most of them have a label on their cover to denote particular periods of the year - such as 'New Years Day', or simply by month. 

They contain Dave's notes and researches into English Calendar Customs, and they were used by him to inform the large relief oil paintings that he made in the 1970s, and the accompanying etchings (that we've just had reprinted). There are also just a few of the drawings that are diagrammatic sketches for specific prints or paintings and so, in these, it's possible to work out what each of the customs depicted in the final work relate to. 

There must be in total about 500 pages of drawings and writing - mostly in great condition, although a few (where he has remounted pages from another notebook) have been damaged by glue residue. The vast majority of the drawings are very sketchy, and are made up of simple, charming line drawings. But a number have been worked into, and these are the ones I particularly like. 

On May Day (fittingly) I went through the 11 books, and photographed just about all of the more detailed drawings. There were 72 in total, and for anyone who is interested I've put them into a photo-album called Calendar Customs on the Facebook page for The Dave Pearson Trust (https://www.facebook.com/davepearsontrust/ ).


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Exhibitions


For the past few months I've been able to spend more time working with Ella Cole at Dave Pearson's old studio, which is where the Dave Pearson Trust is based. Between us we've been following up our contacts with the intention of putting together some exhibitions of Dave's work. This is after a period of 2 or 3 years in which exhibitions of the work have been limited. 

During the past couple of weeks our efforts appear to finally be having an affect. We're now finalising dates for medium and large scale shows at the Turnpike in Leigh, and Leicester Grammar School, and with smaller shows at Dean Clough in Halifax, along with our friends at the Colourfield Gallery and According to McGee (York) showing pieces. Plus there's the enquiry from Zillah Bell, one of the major galleries specialising in prints (see previous blog). Dean Clough have intimated that they may well consider a larger-scale show at some time in the future.  

This is good news, and shows that even a relatively small effort on our behalf can result in real interest in Dave's work being revived. On Monday this week we hosted a coach load of visitors from Merseyside Arts Fund and, miraculously, squeezed 40 visitors into the studio. Everyone enjoyed the visit, and we even made a sale...plus the promise from others to return for a closer look. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Dave's studio

As we've reorganised things at Dave's old studio in order to accommodate the Apna organisation in one of the ground-floor rooms, we've also made better use of the rest of the building.








We think it's looking fine, and a far better place to show the extent and quality of Dave's work than before. On Monday we're hosting a visit by the Arts Fund, who are bringing a coach-party of about 40 people. It'll be a squeeze to fit everyone in, but we're prepared....

Monday, 17 April 2017

Plans




There's new momentum about at Dave Pearson's studio. For a start with Apna (see previous blog) joining us in the building there's simply more people around - holding workshops, meetings, classes and so on. 

Last week an officer from the Arts Council visited Apna for one of their meetings and took the opportunity to look around the studio. Apparently he was very impressed; for us at the Trust to have this kind of opportunity to widen knowledge of Dave's legacy is invaluable, and it chimes well with the efforts we're making to initiate a fresh round of exhibitions of the work. 

As part of these new initiatives Ella and I visited Leicester Grammar School at the weekend (above) to look at their large exhibition space and plan a show for the end of the year, or in early 2018. We're also expecting a visit from Zillah Bell Gallery, who are one of the country's very best dealers in prints, to look at the new 'Calendar Customs' series. On top of this we are expecting to settle dates for the Turnpike exhibition very soon, and the Colourfield Gallery of Poynton have sold the 4 pieces of work that they took at the end of 2016 and are wanting more.