Friday, 5 January 2018

Hanging the Leicester show

Wednesday and Thursday was spent at Leicester Grammar School hanging paintings and drawings for the 'Trees of Byzantium' exhibition that opens on Friday 26th January (although the students will see the work when their term starts on the 8th). 

Alastair Price, Sean Frith and myself drove down with a van loaded with the four large pieces (although these are made up of 11 separate canvases) and 16 smaller framed pieces. This was in the teeth of Storm Eleanor and was an adventure in itself. When we arrived we were joined by Ella Cole

The school is in a large modern building, and the exhibition is on a first floor passage that runs the whole length of the building, known as The Street. It's an unusual exhibition space, not ideal in some ways, but it does have the virtue of being seen by everyone passing through, as its the main artery of the school building.

By Thursday afternoon we had completed the hanging. It looked good - despite the fact that it's in a corridor, it's a very wide one and has deep bays in which its possible to stand back and look at the work from 4 or 5 yards away, which is necessary to get a good look at the large pieces. It's also possible to see the work from below, in the dining area:

Monday, 18 December 2017

Getting ready for Leicester

We're busy preparing paintings, information boards, labels, tools and suchlike for the exhibition of Dave's work at Leicester Grammar School in January.

We've had 9 pieces newly framed for the show - as well as 8 already-framed works that will complete the collection of gouaches and drawings in the exhibition. The centrepieces will be three large-scale paintings - a diptych, a triptych, and a 5 panel piece, 7 metres in length, all over 2 metres in height. The overall theme for the exhibition will be the use of tree images, mythology and folklore within his vast 'Byzantium' period. 

The show opens on the 12th January and runs until April 1st 2018. 

Monday, 20 November 2017


Two key aspects of our work are now coming to their conclusion. By coincidence the process of cataloguing all of the artwork held at Dave Pearson's studio is coming to its end just as the Dave Pearson Trust itself is being wound up and made into a new organisation. 

Ella Cole has moved down to the ground floor of the studio and is now cataloguing the large paintings, currently working on item number 13260. After this, final, room has been completed, Ella will move onto the work that is stored in Chris Pearson's house, just down the road from here. It's hard to be certain but that possibly houses another 2,000 or so drawings and paintings. 

The Trust itself is going to be wound up at the end of the current financial year. If you've read the earlier blog posts you'll remember that this has been forced on us because of estate duty issues, and if we didn't take this course of action the Trust would be facing a huge tax bill on its tenth anniversary. Instead the whole of the work that makes up the estate will be handed back to Chris Pearson, and he will manage it himself, although we (Bob, Ella) are planning to continue to offer him the same type of support that we currently provide to the Trust.

Meanwhile we're also collecting together work for the exhibition planned to open on 12th January 2018 at Leicester Grammar school, which will take a look at the way that Dave Pearson used the image of trees in his Byzantium paintings. This will then be followed by another large exhibition at the Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, Manchester between June and August 2018, when parts of the Byzantium series that have a particular relevance to Manchester will be shown.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Busy, busy

The 2017 Rossendale Art Trail was very successful; our studio was one of 19 participating. We had well over 100 visitors throughout the weekend, plus we made a few sales:

After this we're now preparing for a burst of activity over the next few months. Preparations are well advanced for the exhibition early in the New Year of Dave's work at Leicester Grammar School. Dave was evacuated to Leicester during the Second World War, and would have gone to school in the city. The Grammar School has excellent gallery space and it is a public space.

Arrangements to close down the Trust (see previous blogs) and establish a new business arrangement with his son Chris are beginning to take shape, and we're currently discussing an option to take on a new occasional exhibition space in Cheadle, from where we would be able to show Dave's work to a new audience. 

Some of the other things I've blogged about recently have developed too - the Art Fund has suggested that Compton Verney ( might make a good home for some of Dave Pearson's work from his English Calendar Customs and In The Seven Woods series, as they house the English Folk Art Collection.

Plans are moving forward with the Summer 2018 exhibition at the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh, and of course Dave's self-portrait is currently on show in the Spotlight Gallery at Dean Clough, Halifax. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

On the Art Trail 2017

Among the strangest pieces made by Dave Pearson are the various assemblages created from painted chipboard and toy plastic animals. These were made in the late 1990s for the annual Globe Arts Christmas Market, that was something of a treat for those who knew about it. Here it was possible to pick up specially made, and often light-hearted, pieces of artwork from any of the Globe Artists for a few pounds. 

We've still a few of these at the Dave Pearson studio and, along with everything else, they'll be on show during the Rossendale Art Trail/Open Studios next weekend - October 7th and 8th. 

We're Venue C in the Art Trail brochure, along with our friends at Apna, who have a small exhibition of photographs by the award-winning Palestinian photographer Hamde Abu Rahma

Monday, 18 September 2017


This week I'll be taking the self-portrait by Dave Pearson (above) to the Dean Clough galleries in Halifax. It will be on show in the Spotlight Gallery, a small space in which only a single work is shown at a time, along with information about that work. 

A work by Dave Pearson was chosen at this time because it coincides with 'The Joy of Seeing', the first major retrospective of work by Gordon Snee. Gordon was a colleague of Dave's at the Foundation Studies Department at Manchester School of Art, later MMU. Gordon died in 2013, and like Dave a large legacy of his work was discovered after his death.

I've chosen this portrait because its such powerful image. It's both a realistic portrait of the artist, but also, in the mysterious collection of objects that cluster around the mirror, it's an indicator, a kind of geocache box, to his inner landscape. 

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.