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gary pearson Turn Back, Detour, Go On


cover image Gary Pearson, Knox Mountain (detail), 2013. Oil and oil enamel on canvas, 66 x 66� All images courtesy of Winsor Gallery and Gary Pearson.


gary pearson Turn Back, Detour, Go On

Published in conjunction with the exhibtion Gary Pearson Turn Back, Detour, Go On Winsor Gallery September 11 – October 11, 2014

winsor gallery 258 East 1st Avenue Vancouver, BC V5T 1A6 – info@winsorgallery.com winsorgallery.com


Condominium, 2013. Oil on canvas, 66 x 66�


Gary Pearson on Turn Back, Detour, Go On

The title of the exhibition Turn Back, Detour, Go On is influenced by Act One, Scene One in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, by the German author Bertolt Brecht. The exhibition will include twenty sketches, done in a caricatured, cartoon manner, inspired by various scenes in Brecht’s play; and a selection of recent paintings based on other sources and subjects. The one option missing from the phrase “turn back, detour, go on” is of course “to stay”, which is in fact what the characters in Brecht’s play do in the founding of the city of Mahagonny, or ‘Suckerville’, on the edge of the desert. However, they take a cultural “detour”, and one that is made on the basis of taking the least possible risk for the most anticipated gain; where human greed plots to exploit human vices and weaknesses, as explained by the character Lady Begbick: ‘For the deepest craving of man is not to suffer but do as he pleases. That is our golden secret.’1 The paintings in the exhibition are in part based on photographs that I’ve personally taken while others are compositions with multiple sources that I’ve transformed into imaginative genre scenes. The large painting titled The Flamenco Dancer is based on an actual performance I saw in a private residence in the Sacramonte district of Granada, Spain, earlier this year. Although a few adjustments were made in the treatment of the modified cave in which the performance took place the scene is representative of


It’s Burning!, 2013. Oil, oil enamel, and enamel spray paint on canvas, 66 x 66�


the event. The same might also be said of the paintings Mother and Child, and Girl and Dog. In both these paintings I’ve attempted to capture a kind of atmosphere that I saw or sensed upon witnessing the scene. Mother and Child features a “Bonnardian” foreground in its intricate visual texture, which is contrasted with the rather stark background and patterning in the tree foliage. This painting, titled after the relief sculpture in the upper left, has a relatively flat or shallow pictorial space, while Girl and Dog employs a conventional perspectival space. The use of perspective in this street scene suits the logic of the subject matter as well as contributing a temporal and dramatic element to the narrative. 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, as can be seen in the painting titled It’s Burning! 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.

1

Brecht, Bertolt, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, translated by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1975. p. 33.


The Flamenco Dancer, 2013. Oil and oil enamel on canvas, 80 x 76�


The Distraction, 2013. Oil on canvas, 40 x 40�


No. 28 Carrer de Ferran, 2013. Oil on paper, over-painted monoprint, 47 x 28�


Mother and Child, 2013. Oil, oil enamel, and enamel spray paint on canvas, 76 x 80�


Girl and Dog, 2014. Oil on canvas, 80 x 76�


Knox Mountain, 2013. Oil and oil enamel on canvas, 66 x 66�


The Road Less Traveled, 2013. Oil, oil enamel, and enamel spray paint on canvas, 54 x 54�


Speak Low, 2013. Oil, oil enamel, and enamel spray paint on canvas, 66 x 66�


1-8 Rise and Fall, 2014. Ink, oil, and rubber-stamp on paper, 16 x 16� each.


8-16 Rise and Fall, 2014. Ink, oil, and rubber-stamp on paper, 16 x 16� each.


16 -20 Rise and Fall, 2014. Ink, oil, and rubber-stamp on paper, 16 x 16� each.


Girl and Dog (sketch), 2014. Ink on paper, 13.5 x 9.5�


The Flamenco Dancer (sketch), 2014. Ink on paper, 13.5 x 9.5�


Gary Pearson: Turn Back, Detour, Go On