Tuesday, 19 April 2011

British Painting 1974

At the weekend I came across a catalogue I noticed when we were moving Dave Pearson's books and papers in readiness for the refurbishment of his studio; then I lost track of it. 

It's a catalogue for an Arts Council exhibition, held at the Heywood Gallery in London - British Painting '74. Curated by the painter and critic Andrew Forge, it set out to be a 'cross-section through the anthill of painting in this country'. 24 painters admired by Forge had been asked to each nominate 10 painters they felt should be included in a survey. Somehow Dave Pearson was included, on whose recommendation I don't know. Although this may seem an odd way to select a major exhibition, it's telling that today I still recognise three-quarters of the names 37 years on. A good average, I would have thought. 

Dave (David in the catalogue) was represented by his two Asylum reliefs (Asylum 1 shown above; Asylum 2 below). These are both large and heavy pieces, and inspired by Van Gogh's stay in the asylum at Saint Remy. In Asylum 2 you can see the yellow and blue hats that Dave used over and over as a motif. I wonder if anyone remembers seeing these at the Heywood?

Friday, 15 April 2011

Focusing on the film

On second viewing I'm still deeply impressed by Derek Smith's film - even in its current very rough cut. Margaret Mytton has been photographing and photoshopping photographs of Dave's work to improve the rostra shots that make up part of the movie; and she's also been looking for additional visual material from our archive of Dave's work. 

Above, Interior with Chair, is one of the paintings that has been revealed this way, as is Artists Studio, below.

So far Margaret has spent four days photoshopping images for the film, and I imagine that there's still plenty more for her to do. She tells me that as Admissions Tutor for the Foundation Department at MMU she's having to do this at the same time as dealing with the wave of applications from students. The film clearly still requires a lot of work, and I'm aware that Loz Kaye's specially composed music has still to be added. But it's already obvious that it's going to be a very special piece of work, and a fitting tribute to Dave Pearson.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

On the Road..

...to Tarascon. The above photograph (from 1967) shows Dave Pearson taking his version of the journey made by Vincent. This from a time when Dave's work was all about exploring his obsession with Van Gogh.  

Yesterday I had my first viewing of the draft assembly version of Derek Smith's film about Dave. It arrived by post the evening before, but I arrived home late and left viewing it until the morning. Even then it was touch and go and I had a train to catch - but I couldn't wait any longer and so stuck it in the Mac. 

There are still holes in it and the end is entirely unfinished. The inserted rostra shots of images are rough and often bleached out and, of course, there are no titles or proper soundtrack yet - either the music or a proper commentary. Despite this I was deeply moved by the film. Derek has found a way of telling the story of Dave's life that focuses on his painting and other artwork; that is informative and yet gives a real insight into a driven, contradictory, wildly talented individual. I'm absolutely confident that the finished film will do justice to its subject.

Our hope is that the film will be finished over the summer months and will be previewed and then released in September. Watch this space for further updates....

Saturday, 2 April 2011

April arrives

The prints of the horses have been delivered to the schools; last week we made further sales to several buyers; end of financial year transactions have been tidied up; and Edward Lucie-Smith replied to Derek Smith, our film maker. So slow progress is being made by the Trust on all fronts....