John Pearson: Intuitive Structures

Judith Bear Isroff Gallery
September 20, 2014 - February 8, 2015

A key figure in the arts of Northeast Ohio and beyond, John Pearson has developed his style of geometric abstract painting over the past 50 years. Along with artists Julian Stanczak, Edwin Mieczowkski and others, Pearson was central to the flourishing of geometric abstraction in Cleveland from the mid-1960s through the 1970s. He received the Cleveland Arts Prize in Visual Art in 1975, when he was becoming known for the colorful drawings, prints and paintings he composed using mathematically-derived systems. His Mondrian Linear Series was created using one such systematic approach in homage to Piet Mondrian, one of Pearson’s earliest and most enduring influences. Over the decades, Pearson has experimented with a variety of media and worked in formats ranging from monumental to miniscule. Constantly investigating new ideas, he has produced many distinct bodies of work that explore relationships between shape, color, line and form within the parameters of hard-edged abstraction. Pearson’s most recent paintings feature unusual color combinations, which he selects intuitively to create pleasurable aesthetic experiences infused with visual tension. These large-scale works do not attempt to trick the eye through optical illusion, but rather present shapes that relate to one another on the canvas’s two-dimensional surface. Elements of Pearson’s compositions, such as the brightly colored circles and arcing bands of green, grey and sienna in Untitled: RM 2D13 D, echo natural forms and movement. His abstract explorations of color are sourced in his interest in spirituality and the underlying structure of the way we experience the natural world. This exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by gifts from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, the John P. Murphy Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.