Thursday, 28 October 2010

More photographs from Globe Art Studios

A few more photographs (courtesy of Margaret Mytton) of the studio at Globe Arts, before it was broken up and therefore just as it was left by Dave Pearson. Eventually he was unable to use it any more due to the progress of his illness. It really was a special space, almost an installation piece, filled with these red, white and black constructions. 

Underneath, once we cleared things away, were hundreds of other paintings, mainly from the 1990s. These have been moved to the studio in Haslingden, while the string and nail pieces have either been given to friends and colleagues, or skipped, with just a score or so put into storage. 

Saturday, 23 October 2010

A new exhibition in Rossendale

Last night was the opening of the third exhibition of work by Dave Pearson at the See Gallery in Crawshawbooth. Beautifully hung, and with an emotional coherence that wasn't so apparent in the earlier shows. This because, with the work all coming from the cache found at Dave's Globe Arts studio, the work came from a relatively concentrated period of time - mainly from the 1990s. 

Despite this there is nevertheless a wide range of approaches and techniques on display. These include 10 self-portraits (most extremely dark in mood), a large number of oil paintings of different sizes from the Bestiary series, and a few of the very distinctive constructions that Dave made during this period (such as the one on the wall in the photograph above).

The constructions are fascinating. The photographs above and below record how the studio at Globe Arts was left at Dave's death. A stash of wild, almost violent, work created from white-painted boards, nails, red and black wool, and with various attached items, including some found objects collected from the various stays in hospital he was experiencing at this time in his life. 

These pieces have now been cleared away; some kept by the Dave Pearson Trust; some given to friends including the other artists at Globe Arts; and the rest sadly had to be tipped (most of these were damaged). The example at the See was an early construction, and rather than being inspired by the experience of hospitalisation, was Dave's response to the  outbreak of the Gulf War. This and a few other pieces on the same subject seem to have sown the seeds for the later hospital works. An example of the political merging with the (highly) personal.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Spent a lot of yesterday at the See gallery looking at the work that Julian and Jackie had selected from the 500 or so pieces of work that we removed from Globe Arts studios a few days ago. With Jackie and Margaret Mytton I helped title, price and place the pieces of work. 

Particularly notable are the series of Bestiary paintings, influenced by the strange and mythic creatures found in medieval bestiaries, and also the series of dark, mask-like self-portraits that Dave painted during this period in the 1990s.  

The exhibition, which opens next weekend (private view Friday 22nd) has a special intensity and integrity probably because, unlike earlier exhibitions at the See, the work in it covers only a decade or so of Dave's output. There is nevertheless a wide range of work - from harrowing wood, nail and string constructions, through the series of small (almost miniature) oil paintings, to the comic and strange 'Christmas Fair' creations made for the Globe Christmas exhibitions. 

Saturday, 16 October 2010

See Gallery

See Gallery, Oddfellows Hall, Binns St, Crawshawbooth, Rossendale, Lancashire BB4 8AA

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The move out of Globe

Yesterday we finally moved everything out of Dave Pearson's old studio space at Globe Arts. His studio had sat there, untouched, since his death - in fact it is probably three years since Dave had been there himself. It is one of the larger spaces at the studios, and inevitably the time had come when other artists needed to move in and take over the area, which sits at the top floor of a Victorian cotton-mill complex and is reached via an antiquated (clapped out) Victorian lift . 

There were 8 of us - Ruth and John from Globe Arts, Margaret and her friend Paul, Dave Chadwick and myself, Chris Pearson plus Julian from the See gallery. Then there was Derek Smith, who spent the day filming the proceedings. Organisation was slightly chaotic, but things got done. By things I mean - photographing every artwork as it left the building (Margaret and Paul); filling two skips with rubbish and any damaged work; carefully removing 600 paintings (Ruth, John, Julian, Chris), and loading and driving these to the old studio in Haslingden, then unloading them and finding storage in the, ever-shrinking, available space (Dave and I). We worked from 9.30 in the morning; by 6.30pm everything had been done, leaving just a little tidying needed round the edges.

People approached the work in different ways; Margaret was, as usual, methodical as she needed to be in order to record the work, her attention alighting on pieces she specially wanted keeping. It was hard not to be affected by having to tip old paint brushes, coffee mugs and other personal items into a skip. Not to mention the pieces of work that were either damaged or simply unable to be stored in the space we have. There is a tension between wanting to keep every last item that Dave produced, and the need to retain the refurbished studio in Haslingden as a reasonable place to view his work and to some extent that tension is reflected in Margaret and my own slightly differing sense of priorities. But in the event a sensible compromise has been reached, and there's a corresponding relief that (almost) all of Dave's work is now gathered safely in one place.    

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Jarrow March triptych now has a home

The 'Jarrow March' a triptych painted by Dave Pearson in 1986 has spent most of the last 20 years in storage. It has now found a home at the office of Horse + Bamboo Theatre company in Waterfoot, Rossendale, where it is on loan from the Dave Pearson Trust. The painting, considered to be one of Dave's most important large oil paintings, is 5.50 metres wide by 2.80 metres high. It will remain at the office for the foreseeable future but may well become a centre piece for a forthcoming exhibition at the Peoples' History Museum in Manchester.

Things are progressing with the move of work from Globe Arts studios this coming Friday to the See gallery and Dave Pearson's studio in Haslingden. Vans and skips have been organised; a team of helpers assembled; and Derek Smith is travelling up from London to record the move for the documentary he is making on Dave's life and work.