Saturday, 27 February 2010

All change at the See

Last week we selected some new paintings as so many had been sold during the first two weeks of the exhibition at the See gallery. Julian has now rehung the exhibition, so it's a quite new experience. 

I've also began to plan out the next stage of the move from the store into the studio. In a few weeks time we'll spend a day moving all the last of the small pieces out; and removing rubbish and unnecessary items such as old shelves and drawers. I'm also asking removal companies for quotations for a move in April to take all of the large pieces to the studio. Then we can leave Albion and there will be one less bill for the Trust to pay. Of course this will be an enormous job, and I still worry whether everything will fit back into the studio AND leave space for a neat and tidy display room.

There has also been a positive initial response from the Ferens Arts Gallery in Hull. Early days, of course, but something to work on and yet another demonstration that Dave's work is of serious interest beyond his colleagues and friends. 

Sunday, 21 February 2010

More work at the See

I've been snowbound much of the last week, and hadn't visited the exhibition at the See but Julian called me to discuss things. So many of the pieces have been sold that we need to replenish the stock - not because pieces are being taken off the walls but simply because visitors are disappointed that there isn't much left to buy. 

This is really good news for the Trust; I promised to meet up with Julian at the studio tomorrow to choose some more work for the exhibition. In  addition I had a couple of visitors to the studio yesterday and sold several pieces to them. 

Monday, 15 February 2010

Dave Pearson : Unseen Works

It has been a busy few days. On Friday night the See gallery opened on the new exhibition of Dave's work. One of the visitors was Derek Smith, a film-maker who travelled up from London to see the work and hear more about Dave. On Saturday Margaret and I took Derek to see the studio and the store of work, and discuss more about Dave and the possibility of making a film about him. Derek thought that an hour long film was possible; that Dave's life and work made a great story. Derek made the film on Lucien Freud's sitters (models) for Border TV, and more recently a long feature on Edward Lear and his travels - broadcast on Sky Arts. 

The opening itself was good - the usual See opening with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere; a lot of interest in the work, and quite a crowd. Someone who couldn't make the opening was Rob Dobson, who had worked on a show at the Bede Gallery in Jarrow with Dave and myself back in 1975. Rob appeared on Sunday with his wife Nicola and youngest daughter, Lotte. On Sunday I took them round to the gallery, the studio, and the store. There was a lot to catch up on as I hadn't seen Rob for over 30 years. A lot of reminiscing about Dave and the usual astonishment at the quality and quantity of work that he has left behind. 

Friday, 12 February 2010

Tonight's the night

Tonight there's the private view at the See and tomorrow the gallery opens for Dave Pearson: Unseen Works. 

I was at the gallery last night titling and pricing the pieces. Julian and Jackie have made a wonderful job of selecting and displaying the work. They have been almost totally responsible for selecting the work in the exhibition and it really is nearly all previously unshown. Generally the pieces chosen don't belong to any of Dave's main series of work, so there are a lot of surprises. Some of the pieces have only been uncovered within the past week or two as I've been moving things around in the store or studio. 

What has been a particular revelation is how framing and displaying has shown just how special some of the work on card or board is - work that I had previously seen simply as sketches or minor preparatory pieces.  

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Preparing for the opening

Jackie has been arranging paintings at the See Gallery and came, with her friend Amanda, to meet me at the store and then the studio to select another painting or two to fit unfilled places on the gallery walls. The fact that we have so many of Dave's paintings means that there's nearly always something that will fit, whatever the hole on the wall.

I looked in at the Gallery later. Although nothing was hung, things were placed or suspended and it was just possible to get an impression of what the final display might look like.  I think it will be very interesting, particularly as so much that has been chosen falls outside of Dave's major series such as the early Van Gogh work, or the Byzantium work that took up most of his time in the 1990s. 

We've included a few of the Bestiary paintings that have been stored at Globe Arts studios. These are a revelation to me, as I've only seen them in photographs. These were probably Dave's last major series of oil paintings as his work from 2000 was mainly on paper or, see above, string and nail assemblages. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

More work discovered....

I went to Globe Arts today, courtesy of Ruth and John, and visited the studio space that Dave used there - as one of the artists that make this such an interesting artists studio. 

Because of his illness Dave hadn't really worked much in the studio for several years, although he paid rent on the space until his death. The studio, kindly, has waived rent since then, but I've been aware that the Trust needed to deal with these pieces of work. 

What first hits you approaching Dave's old space are the string and nail assemblages that are gathered together to create a kind of installation (see above). They hark back to Dave's illness, and several of the pieces contain medical items. The overall effect is powerful, almost violent. I fear most of this will have to be discarded - the pieces are going to be very hard to store and stack; and there simply won't be enough space in the studio. Any ideas out there?

There was also about a hundred canvases, including many of the Bestiary series, painted between 1988 and 2000. These I'll collect together and take back to the studio once the big paintings have been moved out of the store. Finally there's the detritus of Dave's presence - his old jacket, coffee pot and cups - none of this has been moved, out of a kind of respect. I said to Ruth and John to use any of the materials they find useful, and to throw away the other everyday items.