Gary Pearson


Fountain (Study), 2015
Oil on paper
13 x 10 in.

Okanagan-based artist Gary Pearson paints a cast of characters and scenes that reflect his interest in the transitional nature of life itself. Using subdued colours that evoke an atmosphere of melancholic nostalgia, his portrayal of the everyday is rooted in his dispassionate and detached observation of contemporary society. Urban spaces such as cafes, bars, hotel lobbies and city parks are presented as generic and unremarkable, apt backdrops for the mundane moments unfolding for the characters on his canvases. Executed in a purposefully crude and repetitive style, his subjects are deliberately unspectacular, and reminiscent of a casual snapshot.
Gary Pearson is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna. He received his M.A. from the University of Saskatchewan and his B.F.A. from the University of Victoria. Pearson is an interdisciplinary artist who works primarily in painting and video. He has been exhibiting internationally since 1983. His work in video includes experimental and documentary genres. He is also an author who has written for several art journals including Border Crossings and Sculpture Magazine. He is the recipient of the International Studio Award at P.S.1/MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) New York and the 1991 VIVA award. His most recent solo exhibition, entitled Turn Back, Detour, Go On, took place at Winsor Gallery in the fall of 2014. The paintings form a composite portrait of urban living in all of its beauty and mundanity as each scene captures the muted dramas that fill bars, cafes, city parks, architecture and landscapes.
About his work he writes:
Apart from my concern with establishing a meaningful composition in my paintings, I’m also very committed to the art and craft of painting itself, to include the tools and methodologies of painting, and the physical and optical characteristics of paint and paint additives. I work in oil and occasionally add oil enamel paint and/or enamel spray paint… These recent works are not informed or connected by a common or guiding theme, each of the paintings feature a unique subject that presented its own set of challenges and rewards. It is my hope that the audience will experience some of these challenges and outcomes as well.